Copa America Centenario’s Weird Rule To Make Knockout Games More Exciting

For most of us, this will be our first real Copa America. Sure, we’ve watched the tournament in years past to try and satiate our lust for the beautiful game, but we’ve never been truly invested in the results.

This year is different. The USA and Mexico get to play in the tournament and it’s being hosted in the USA. Fox snapped up the broadcasting rights and will bless the people with national coverage for the tournament.

Given that interest in this year’s Copa America is a full order of magnitude greater than usual, it’s important to familiarize ourselves with the nuances of the tournament.

There’s one major difference:


Extra time is dead


Only the final will feature extra time, should the game be tied at the end of regulation. The quarter finals and semi finals will go directly to penalty kicks if they’re tied at the end of 90.

Normally, the knockout rounds – meaning the quarter finals, semi finals, and finals – have two 15 minute overtimes after regulation before penalty kicks.

But who really wants to sit through 30 more minutes of a 0-0 defensive standoff after a 90 minute snoozer?

I’m cool with the wonky format of the Copa. It will put the onus on teams to end the game in regulation because you never really know what’s going to happen in a shootout. Can’t bet the farm on a roll of the dice.

If you’ve had the upper hand during regulation, it makes sense to play for a tie because you get 30 extra minutes to finish the job.

When teams have the luxury of extra time, they settle for a tie.

It degrades the value of the game. Watching two teams play not to get scored is not tight.

The people need that action.

Penalty kicks may be cruel, but no one can claim they’re not exciting.





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