It was interesting to hear the color commentators on ESPN deride the lack of quality of play in the final and particularly Portugal's lack of attacks (calling to mind Jorge Valdano's comment that playing football against a team that refuses to attack is like making love to a tree). I think there is a simple cause. Penalties. That system of breaking ties encourages teams to play it cautious, reluctant to attack, figuring they can either try to luck out a goal or take their chances on a penalty kick shootout. I don't think it is a coincidence that, since the advent of penalties in the World Cup in '82 and Euro in '76 that the number of low-scoring games in big matches has soared. Prior to 1990, no WC final ended in a shutout. Since 1990 not one final has produced a game where both teams scored in the run of play. When 2018 arrives it will be 16 years since a goal was scored in regulation in a WC final other than off a set piece. The reality is that penalties drives strategy too much.