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World Cup referees continue to spark controversy

A tournament riddled with bad officiating.


Apparently Englands goal did not cross the line
  • Apparently England's goal did not cross the line

We haven't even finished the second round of the World Cup yet and already it's been a remarkable and memorable tournament. After a slow start to the competition, we've seen some incredible goals and some very dramatic endings. Unfortunately these moments are already overshadowed by another topic: (no, not the vuvuzelas) referee errors.

In both of yesterday's round of 16 matches the results were undoubtedly spoiled after goals were both disallowed and allowed incorrectly.

Frank Lampard's strike in the first half against Germany hit the underside of the crossbar and crossed the line and past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's goal. Both Lampard and England coach Fabio Capello had already started celebrating the goal before realizing that it was unjustly disallowed by Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda and his crew. When asked about the goal after the game, Larrionda just smiled and didn't answer.

In the second match of the day, a 0-0 game between Mexico and Argentina turned 1-0 in Argentina's favor after Carlos Tevez 'scored' from a clear offside position. The replay of the goal was shown on the big screen in the stadium right after the goal which caused even more controversy.

FIFA communications director Nicholas Maingot said after the match:

There was a controversial action shown during the game on the giant screens last night at Soccer City. This should not happen.

The giant screens are part of the infotainment but should not show controversial actions.

He also went on to say: 'I don't think football is very much different from other sports and not all sports have recourse to technology.'

Well Mr. Maingot, the truth is that the most efficient sports in the World use instant replay technology for big decision that could decide that outcome of the match. The NHL, NBA, NFL all use these technologies and consequently have much less referee controversy than soccer does.

Although most can agree that Argentina and Germany were the strongest sides of the day, you can't help but feel sympathy for England and Mexico who were both playing well and with momentum up until the referees spoiled the match for them.

Germany take revenge from 1966
  • Germany take revenge from 1966

For all the superstitious people out there, there is quite a bit of irony in this. In 1966 England played against Germany in the World Cup final when England's Geoff Hurst hit a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar much like Frank Lampard's shot did. The difference is that the ball did not cross the line in '66 but England were still awarded with the goal.

Further irony brings us back to a previous encounter between Mexico and Argentina in 2006. Pablo Aimar scored a goal from an onside position only to have his goal disallowed for being 'offside'.

Controversy and bitterness aside, the best part of the World Cup so far was Heinze's feud with the cameraman.



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