Stéphane Lannoy is a disaster

June 21, 2010

The French are in ruins, having mutinied against their joke of a national team coach today. But perhaps even worse was the performance of French referee Stéphane Lannoy. Despite looking in another direction, the fact that Kaka did nothing, and the fact that it was all an act.

Lannoy handed out the red card. Technically, the second yellow, but the first yellow was almost as undeserved as above.

I’m still going to call taking back the US goal as the Worst Call of the World Cup, but Brazil and Ivory Coast was the worst refereed game of the World Cup so far.

Here’s an abbreviated list of egregious refereeing errors:
1. Luis Fabiano’s goal where he committed a handball foul TWICE. Keep in mind that I almost never in agreement with calling unintentional handballs, which many referees call. Not calling either handball is absolutely unforgiveable.
2. Drogba’s jersey being pulled twice in the box on the same play, extended away from body. Sorry ref, I hate calling penalties because I believe referees should never decide matches, but that was a penalty.
3. The first Kaka yellow card.
4. The second Kaka yellow card.
5. The foul on Elano that went without a yellow card when a red was probably more appropriate.
6. Lots of Ivory Coast reckless challenges that went uncarded.
7. The acting by Brazilians that started before the Kaka red card.
8. Losing complete control of the game in a way I rarely see in any level of football. If this had been a mere league game and not the World Cup, I think a brawl could’ve been a possibility.

I read around the web about what a great victory it was for Brazil. I agree, because Ivory Coast has alot of great talents. I think that just because the score was 3-0 before Drogba scored an amazing late goal, people look at it as a big Brazil victory.

It’s pretty hard to do counterfactuals in football, but I personally feel like that fact exagerates the fact that Brazil’s 2nd goal shouldn’t have counted. So 2-1 Brazil. Given Ivory Coast either the penalty I think the ref should’ve given or the header Drogba missed from the 6 yard line…I think calling it a big Brazil win is overrating it.


Holland v Denmark

June 14, 2010

2-0 win for Holland.  It’s a result, it gets the job done, makes them likely to move on, yadda yadda yadda.

Holland was/is my pick to win the World Cup.  My method was basically: start with the favorites and eliminate them if I didn’t feel they could win.  Somehow I ended up with the Netherlands, and a strange feeling that they could win and that Robin Van Persie could be the leading goalscorer of the tourney.

The Dutch looked rather listless to me?  Their energy at winning 50/50 balls wasn’t great, nor was their movement off the ball.  Total Football it was not, and I didn’t see alot of overlapping runs, or really any good linkup play.  Offensively, it seemed like people stayed in their assigned positions on the field and waited for the ball to come into their area.

*  The yellow cards to De Jong and Van Persie worry me a bit.  Van Persie, De Jong, and Van Bommel are all the types who could accumulate yellow cards and miss matches.   Decent games from the latter two, as well as Wesley Sneijder, whose touch set up the second goal.

* Kinda a typical Kuyt goal: all hustle.

* Stéphane Lannoy had an excellent game in the center.  Kudos to the Frenchman for a solid game as the referee.  Sure, a few mistakes here and there, but he called fouls when necessary, avoided giving out needless cards, and didn’t make himself the star of the game.

*  Still picking the Dutch to win.  This ain’t Euro ’08, where the Dutch came out firing on all cylinders.  Even so, for a Dutch team they seem relatively united.  They have the quality of players, they have the kind of group that essentially assures them of advancing, and aside from Bendtner getting free for an unmarked header, their defense was well organized.

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