Imagine game seven of the World Series ends 0-0.
Then envisage the Super Bowl, NBA playoffs, Ryder Cup, or the Final Four, ending with no score. Not even the most casual sports fan would find this possibility acceptable. But non-offensive outcomes are the norm for soccer. In the middle of the semiannual World Cup competition, that arrives with so much enthusiasm and ends in a puff of ‘Qatarian’ sand, even the players seem lethargic.
Record Number of Points Not Scored
According to Eurosport, ‘nn Qatar, there were four goalless games before even the first round of group games were over.’ While other sports can and do sometimes end in ties, a zero-zero tie is all but unheard of. The last time an NFL game ended in a 0-0 tie was November 7, 1943, when the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions ended at 0-0.
“Imagine any professional or college game where there was no scoring,” queried SwampButt Underwear corporate spokesman and chronic non-conformist Nick Heraldson. “I doubt that anyone other than the players parents would pay to see that and even they would be due a refund. Yet the ‘all nil’ is not only acceptable, it’s routine.”
The Irony of Bore Draws
The ‘bore draw’ happens in the World Cup but not because a 0-0 tie is mind-numbing. It happens when the match ends with no score or ‘all nil’. “Ninety minutes of play and no player can kick a ball into a net that is 24 feet wide, 8 feet tall and 5 feet deep (Tournament Approved Regulation Size for nets),” Heraldson mused. “How can scoring be avoided with dimensions like this? It’s almost like they are not even trying.”
Little Equipment Needed
Aside from political hubbub and foofaraw, a record number of matches ending in 0-0 ties is the most notable thing about the 2022 World Cup, so far. Soccer, or football, is the most popular sport in the world. But why? For one, soccer is available and easy for anyone to play.
All that is required is a ball and place to kick it. “In the U.S. we have parks, schools, universities, community colleges, green spaces, and private clubs with basketball courts, indoor and outdoor baseball and football fields, gyms for basketball, badminton, or volleyball and tracks that encircle them all for competitive track and field, according to SwampButt Underwear spokesman and grasper of the not always obvious Nick Heraldson. “Most countries do not have the recreation resources available here. So, a ball or something round to boot back and forth is the game of choice.”
Plenty of Reasons for Low Scoring
The availability of soccer to global youth notwithstanding, those same people who kicked an old shoe around as adolescences’ probably want to see some scoring. So why are the current games absent points?
There are speculative reasons for the absence of goals.
- The weather. It’s hot on the Arabian Peninsula and even world class athletes struggle with the heat. High heat and humidity lead to two problems in the exercising body: a) increased core body temperature and b) dehydration. Increased body temperature leads to decreased muscle endurance, which means the muscle’s ability to contract repeatedly or in a sustained manner over long periods of time (Intermountain Healthcare).
- Oddball start times. Some World Cup matches have started as late as 10:00pm local time. Circadian rhythms for all humans get knocked out of whack by even a one-hour change (daylight savings time changes in fall and spring help bear witness to this). Much past research has shown that athletes generally perform better in late afternoon or evening (Inside Science). So it stands to reason that early or late start times in an unfamiliar time zone equal less than optimal performance.
- Add jet lag to heat, squirrely kick-off times and climate transitions for players from countries where November and December are the start of winter it could be that the players are dragging-ass because they are tired. Fatigue can have a negative effect on both physical and mental performance. A fatigued athlete may have less energy to exert themselves during practice or a game. They may also have trouble staying focused (Boston Children’s Hospital).
There are libraries full of research on the issue of athletic performance and how temperature, humidity, time, and lethargy affect competitive sports. These may be part of the reason for the dearth of points in the World Cup 2022. The wisdom of putting the World Cup in Qatar for social and traditional reasons is well known. That Qatar could make soccer even more boring was unexpected. Yawn.
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