Pre-season friendlies: 1 goal = 1 point?

Well the summer is almost over (in soccer terms that is, since almost all the European leagues who haven’t done so already are scheduled to begin this week or the next), so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to look back at some of the friendly tournaments that took place this year. In particular, I’d like to attract your attention to some oddities that have struck me with regards to the points system of certain tourneys. 

Trofeo Birra Moretti

Trofeo TIMFirstly (but this will come as no surprise to those of you following Serie A soccer for quite some time) there are the 3-team 45-minute game trophies, such as the Trofeo Birra Moretti or the Trofeo TIM. This format, which seems to an exclusive of the Italian league, features matches played over essentially a single 45-minute period, at the end of which penalty shoot-outs will ensue if the score is still tied. Points are attributed as follows: 3 pts. for a win, 2 pts. for a P.K. win, 1 pt. for a P.K. loss, and 0 pts. for a loss. 

This format has the advantage that all teams participating will effectively play a full 90 minutes, but get the opportunity to do so against two different opponents. Coaches can therefore mix and match substitutes & tactical line-ups, and try out different tactics with greater freedom. The disadvantage however (especially for spectators) is that since games are one half shorter (compared to the full 90 minutes), there’s considerably less goals scored per game (this year was no exception).

Amsterdam tournament

Emirates Cup

Even more strange (but a lot more popular apparently) is the format adopted by many 4-team tournaments this summer, such as the Emirates Cup or the Amsterdam tournament (but many more took place this year). Quoting from Wikipedia’s article: “(…) an unusual points-scoring system. As with most football, a victory results in three points; a draw in one; and a defeat in none. However, teams are rewarded one extra point for every goal they score. For example, a 3-3 draw brings the same number of points [from goals alone] as a 1-0 victory brings to the winner. In the previous example both teams would get 4 points. This system is designed to encourage more attacking football.” And indeed it does, as the scorelines are generally far from a boring 0-0.

In addition, this gives rise to some strange rankings as well:

Amsterdam tournament final rankings

I seriously doubt that UEFA or FIFA will ever consider adopting this system in official competitions, but it provides a nice way to handle 4-team tournaments, since the participating teams would otherwise be forced to play 3 games instead of 2 (unless the tournament is based on elimination-round, rarely the case anymore), which would put a significant strain on the players.

Also, spectators can’t complain because the 1 point=1 goal rule means they are getting treated to more goals. :mrgreen: So it’s definitely an interesting novelty.

Posted in Pre-season |

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