With eight matches remaining in the 2014 World Cup, we’ve already seen a record number of goals scored by substitutes. There have been a record 29 goals scored by players who have come on during matches, six more than the previous mark set during the 2006 tournament in Germany.
That impact has been noticed by FIFA’s coaching advisors, so much so that a proposal for the 2018 World Cup will be brought to the governing body’s rules panel to add a fourth substitute option for managers in extra time situations only.
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Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, who is now a member of FIFA’s technical study group, is in favor of the idea.
"It's a good idea. Only in extra time. Maybe if someone is injured, why not?"
"Substitutes play such an important part because they come with a freshness and attitude," Houllier said. "Nearly a quarter of (all) the goals have been scored in the final 15 minutes of the game."
The idea of a fourth substitute almost came to fruition during the rules panel’s annual meeting in March 2012, but FIFA withdrew the proposal. Two years later, after seeing the kind of impact it could have on matches, it’s time to revisit it.
Giving managers an option of a fourth sub to be used in extra time makes sense. We’ve seen a number of players struggle with fitness and the warm temperatures this World Cup. It’s for the benefit of the game that if there are 30 extra minutes of a match, a match that is in the knockout stage where there’s so much on the line, allowing a fresh player to come on could make a world of difference. Just ask Romelu Lukaku and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored huge goals for Belgium and the Netherlands, respectively, in the Round of 16.
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