Saturday, July 03, 2010

Uruguay - the "hand of god" part II

There has been much made about Suarez's hand on the goal line that "saved" Uruguay and sent the game to penalty kicks where the South Americans progressed to the semi finals. There has been much written and spoken about the injustice suffered by Ghana. The main complaint was that due to Suarez's actions and the subsequent penalty miss allowed Uruguay another chance which they took and now they are heading to the semi finals. However the bottom line is the official followed the rules - he red carded Suarez and awarded a penalty kick.

Percentages are in the favor of the penalty kicker - 80% success rate. Therefore, Ghana had the odds in their favor that they would score and win the match. Unfortunately, Gyan after logging back to back 120 minute games smashed his shot on the cross bar. Had the indiscretion occurred in the first 5 minutes of extra time and the result been the same, would there be so much outrage? No. Because it happened in the last minute of extra time the impact of the miss is magnified. Should football adopt the "penalty try" rule from rugby - where if a try was prevented due to an egregious foul the official can still award the try. I would say no as well...Ghana had a similar situation when they played Australia. A Ghanaian shot was saved off the line by a Kewell hand ball. As in the 1/4 game, the official showed the former Liverpool player a straight red card and Ghana were awarded the penalty kick, which this time Gyan converted. Australia had to play the remainder of the match with 10 players, Ghana could not take advantage of this situation and ended drawing with Australia. However there was no outcry that the goal should have been given and there not needing to have a penalty taken. The situation in the 1/4 final match magnified the situation but overall the rule is just - red card & penalty kick.

Now should FIFA have come down with a more severe post game penalty for Suarez? Rather than a one game suspension as the rules dictate...maybe. That will not change the fact that Uruguay have made it to the semifinals and Ghana has to go home when they should be getting ready for a match up with Holland.

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