Fifa could call time on extra time

Football chief Sepp Blatter says World Cup knockout matches could go straight to penalties to avoid defensive displays.

    Blatter greets the Dutch after they were beaten 1-0 by Spain in extra time at the World Cup final [GALLO/GETTY]

    Extra time could become a thing of the past at World Cups as football's governing body Fifa aims to make sport's biggest tournament more exciting.

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday that he was concerned at the number of defensive performances at the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

    And he said knockout matches could go straight to penalties rather than playing an extra 30 minutes in the case of a draw.

    The 'golden goal' rule used at tournaments such as Euro 1996 and World Cup 1998 – when the first goal scored in extra time wins the game – could also be reintroduced.

    Blatter also said that Fifa would look at other ways of encouraging teams to play a more attacking game after a flurry of low-scoring contests in the early stages of World Cup 2010.

    'Playing for a draw'

    "In the first few matches of the group stage in South Africa, we witnessed some teams that went out to avoid defeat, that were playing for a draw from the outset," he told Fifa's website.

    "This is a topic that I would like to discuss at upcoming football and technical committee meetings.

    "We have to try to find a way to encourage free-flowing football in tournaments like the World Cup, with teams playing to win.

    "We plan to take the opportunity to look at the concept of extra time as well.

    "Often we see teams set themselves up even more defensively in extra time, in an attempt to avoid conceding a goal at all costs.

    "To prevent this, we could go directly to a penalty shootout at full time, or reintroduce the golden goal rule."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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