Why Doesn’t the Best Team Always Win in Soccer?

The thrill of snatching victory is unmatched! - (Photo: Monster-island.net)

The wonderful and exciting thing about soccer and sports in general is that there is no sure victory.  Yes, a team can have better players at every position and expect to cleanly dominate a game, and yes, 9 times out of 10 that team will wind up as the victors, but every now and then the odds are challenged and the weaker team prevails.  How does such an outcome happen?  Find out here.

Soccer is first about creating chances.  Soccer players engage in a battle throughout the middle of the field, searching for free runs and passes that could present a goal-scoring opportunity.  When a window opens up and a player looks like he or she just might score a breakthrough, a chance has been created.

Generally, the better team will create far more chances over the course of a game, but that is not enough.  Players must not only create good chances, but they have to convert them into goals.  When a shot hits off the post or flies over the goal, the opportunity is wasted and counts for absolutely nothing.

And so the first reason why a heavily favored team doesn’t always win in soccer is because they don’t always convert their chances.  Therefore, highly clinical players are immensely favored by the big-spending professional clubs and top college soccer programs in the nation.  But, every player has an off game, and can be found guilty of wasting golden opportunities at some point in their careers.  Thus, the window is opened for the underdogs.

For a lowly ranked team to complete an upset, they not only have to be extremely clinical in the few chances they create, but they must play an exceptionally sound defensive game.  If they are able to muster up the intensity to prevent legitimate chances by their opponents after waves of attacks, there is a possibility that the upset can happen.  Additionally, the goalie of the underdog team usually must have an incredible game to find victory.  Generally having to deal with many shots from the superior opponents, if he or she can find a way to save every shot, pressure will simply build in the other team, and they could begin to panic, lowering their ability to ever find a breakthrough.

But to win, the underdog team must also find that elusive goal.  Often times, a team may have just one chance in a game to snatch away that victory.  The striker had better be ready to take that chance.  Since the stronger team will often throw several more players ahead in their quest for glory, they will leave themselves short at the back and open up opportunities for the weaker team to strike.  All it takes is one clean breakaway chance and the game can turn.  After that, the lesser team just needs to defend for their lives.

Soccer is so strange and fantastic because of these occurrences.  Upsets can occur for a variety of other reasons as well.  One or two silly plays can completely derail a victory, such as a poor tackle in the box giving away to a penalty.  Or, a deflected shot can just bounce into the net.  There is clearly an element of luck to soccer.  But, generally speaking the better team will find a way to win.  But it’s up to the players on the field to convert, and any team can often find themselves winning or losing, regardless of how much better or worse they think they are than their opponent.


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