Worst Call of the World Cup

June 18, 2010

Last night I complimented the World Cup refs on an excellent performance so far, especially the linesman….Well. That was before Koman Coulibaly. That was before the referees decided the outcome of BOTH games so far today.

The Mali refs disallowed the 3rd American goal, and there is no reason why. Did he call offsides on Bradley? On Edu? Did he call a foul on Bradley for trying to free himself from the two armed bearhug that the Slovenian defender gave him? No one knows, and so far they are not saying why. US Coach Bob Bradley claims that he heard it was the latter. If so, that is probably a story chosen after the fact by the refs because it is a judgment call, and thus less likely for FIFA to have sanctionable grounds.

Even if the linesman screws up the offsides call, then you give the penalty kick. Easy game. Horrible horrible call, and pretty apparent. The linesman sometimes have difficult calls to make, but this was not one of them.

Really, it was not a strong performance by the ref before the wrongly disallowed goal. Jozy Altidore gets taken down outside of the box by the last defender? That is why the rule was originally created so that a red card can be given. Was the red card given? No.

There were quite a number of dangerous Slovenian challenges in the second half. Or the yellow card against Robbie Findley for the ball that hit him in the face. And do not even get me started about the (only!) 3 minutes of injury time that were all used on the Slovenian injury. Erroneous.

On top of that, was this questionable red card against Miroslav Klose of Germany in the first game of the day.

While this is at least arguably correct under the FIFA rules of the game, I doubt that is given a red card very frequently. It was his second yellow, but even so, I doubt this is given very frequently. Either way, when a ref goes card happy in the first half (the ref gave out 6 cards in the first 35 minutes), results like this happen quite frequently.


US v England thoughts

June 12, 2010

1.  If you were to tell me before the game that the US would get a tie out of this game I’d have been satisfied.

2.  I am not satisfied by the result.

3.  Pobrecito, Robert Green.   That’s not the way anyone wants to get a point, even with an unpredictable ball and a wet field.

4.  England had weaknesses, some of which I mentioned in my preview post.  We knew that coming in.   Glen Johnson is better going forward than defending, central defenders haven’t played together much and Terry is slowing down, Lampard and Gerrard don’t link well, lack of an obvious #1 goaltender, who is the second striker, etc.  One of those bit them in the backside quite painfully.  That said, they do have some phenomenal players.

5.  Capello’s starting lineup.  Emile Heskey assisted the England goal, validating Capello’s choice to start him, and surprising me.  I found it surprising, as I’d have started Peter Crouch against the Americans.   And I remarked to my wife as the game started, “I expected to see James in goal.”

6.  Us Yanks could have had a few goals in the air in the first half.

7.  We were extremely lucky to escape with a point, let’s not forget that.   Yes, there was a long stretch of the first half where we played better, as if we were the favorites and England counter-attacking underdogs.  And yes, we could have won the game.  But all in all, football is a capricious game, decided by who takes their chances, and we were significantly luckier than our elder brothers today.

8.  England will overreact, but they still have a good team.  Italy tied us in group stages in 06 and went on to win the Cup.

9.  I thought this was the worst refereed game of the World Cup to this point; fortunately, it was still a reasonable game for the ref.  I disagreed with several calls, and I think England did experience some luck not to get some red cards pulled out.  Still, given that the Brazilian ref has experienced quite a bit of controversy in the past, we are awfully lucky not to get Jorge Larrionda or Valentin Ivanov, who had the worst two refereeing performances of World Cup 2006.   Larrionda may or may not be biased against the US, but he certainly has had bad performances against them.  I like all the Uruguayans I know, but I don’t like his reffing.

10.  Findley as a starter?  I thought to myself as the game started.  Has to be a tactical move, we’re going to be sending it long alot.  And indeed we did.

11.  I’m happy with the point.  It makes us much more likely to advance.   It still wasn’t very satisfying for me though.


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