Saturday, June 24, 2006

Refs - what are they thinking?

Just finished watching Germany beat Sweden, a game that was over by the 15th minute (even though Larsson should have slotted home the PK which would have made things slightly more interesting). While I was impressed by Podolski and Klose up front, I am still not impressed by the overall German team, their defense is suspect and against a team such as Argentina or Spain they will be exposed. This team is a great example of the advantage of playing on home soil. But on to my main point of this posting - the referees.

The Germany - Sweden game was really over at half time when the ref handed out a second yellow to Lucic on a completely BS call. Lucic barely grabbed Klose who crumbled like a house of cards. A verbal warning at most, maybe a yellow for Klose for diving, but the ref should be aware of the situation and a borderline call like that should not be made in such a way as to completely turn the game - reducing Sweden to 10 players. But this is just the first of many questionable calls:

  • Non hand ball call in the France - Switzerland game, that could have given the French a PK and potentially a 1-0 game or at least opened things up.
  • Essien questionable yellow in Ghana - USA, meaning he misses the Brazil game and invariably gives Ghana even less of a chance to pull off the upset.
  • 2 offsides calls in the France-Togo game, both of which were clearly not offsides.
  • Yellow card for Zidane against South Korea, when he touched the Korean player as he tried to avoid him.
  • The US-Italy game, yellow cards, and red cards everywhere. The De Rossi one deserved, the Mastroni one I believe deserved due to the accumulation of hard play by the americans but still harsh, the second yellow for Pope (Again talk to the player knowing if he gets another he is off)
I know the refs are trying to reign in diving, tackles from behind, grabbing, etc, but there are too many yellow cards and straight red cards for a tournament of this caliber. A red card should be given for only the most egregious of fouls, yellow cards need to be given out with caution as well due to the impact it has on teams. So far the World Cup has been exciting, and I think we are due to see some great football - potential Germany-Argentina game, France-Spain, Holland-Portugal, potential Brazil-Spain (I wish I could slot France in there but my rational side says no way), etc. But I fear the refs will play too much a part in the outcome and that is not how the beautiful game should be decided.

Then again why should things change - 1982 Schumacher almost cripples Battiston on a semi break away and suffers no punishement, 2002 Spain sees three goals dissallowed against South Korea, 1966 did the goal for England really cross the line against West Germany, etc....

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