Yes, they're brutal. Yes, they're probably unfair. We still like penalty shootouts anyway.
For all their cruelness, penalty shootouts are also compulsively watchable. In essence, they reduce a 120-minute football match—often a match with high stakes—to a series of one-on-one showdowns.
Who wouldn't want to see that?
Consider the case of Spain and Italy this week in the Confederations Cup semifinal. Spain won the penalty shootout 7-6, with only one of 14 takers missing his shot, and the whole thing was just dripping with drama.
There were two of the world's best keepers in Spain's Iker Casillas and Italy's Gianluigi Buffon. There was pressure, and loads of it. There were world-class players on both sides. For a while, it looked like no one could miss.
Next year in Brazil, once the group stage is over, there will be penalty shootouts. Sorry, England. They're part of the package.