But for now I'm content to keep the focus on set pieces. Nothing takes the wind out of fan's sails like a golden opportunity from 20-25 yards, say, rocketed far into the heavens above the goal-mouth. An attempt right at the keeper forces a save. A ball struck well wide still has a chance to ricochet out of bounds for a corner or a throw in. Even a shot hammered bone-headedly right into the wall may find a crack or generate a friendly rebound opportunity. But the ball blasted over the bar is not a goal, was never going to have been a goal, and has no chance, however remote, to become a goal. Instead, the entire offensive possession is definitively blanketed, and the opposing team usually gets the ball at about midfield. It's absolute the height of preposterous, exasperating wastefulness -- the psychological equivalent in American football, I think, of punting on first down inside enemy territory.