Breaking the Law: punish football teams for negative play | Beau Dure


Sick of players parking the bus and playing for a draw? Then maybe it’s time to start making sure they feel the wrath of the referee for sitting back

Cristiano Ronaldo and Hope Solo are – how shall we say this politely? – divisive characters in world football. Both attracted ire this summer when they attacked their opponents for a lack of adventure. Solo called Sweden “a bunch of cowards” after they ground their way to a penalty shoot-out victory against the defending champions, USA, at the women’s Olympic football tournament. And at Euro 2016, Ronaldo launched the biggest attack on Iceland since the Cod Wars when he disparaged the tactics of everyone’s favorite plucky underdogs. “When [Iceland] don’t try to play and just defend, defend, defend, this in my opinion shows a small mentality and they are not going to do anything in the competition,” fumed Ronaldo after Portugal drew with Iceland. Ronaldo was proved right too, as long as you don’t include beating England in the last 16 as “anything”. Which many people wouldn’t.

But cheap gags at Roy Hodgson aside, did Ronaldo and Solo - which sounds a bit like an 80s cover band – have a point? Are today’s football games too easily destroyed by parking the bus and counter-attacking? The answer is simple: yes. The solution, though, is more difficult.

Related: Three points for a goal? League 1 America: the soccer revolution that never was

Related: Breaking the Law: why Fifa should relax its eligibility rules | Scott Murray

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