Archive for June 17th, 2010

A hat-trick for Asia

After the excellent performances of Ravshan Irmatov and Yuichi Nishimura in the opening matches of the 2010 World Cup, Kalil Al Ghamdi of Saudi Arabia completed a hat-trick for Asia with a first class controlled performance of refereeing in the match between France and Mexico.

He had an early caution but did not over-react to the pressure and was always well positioned to give accurate decisions from close range.

At the end of the match the controversy was about the performance of the French team and not about the performance of the referee team.

It has been another good day for Asian refereeing.

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The general view of refereeing so far in World Cup 2010 is that the referees have done very well. The referee in the first match, Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan, set the standard and the others have followed his example with not too many problems.

But of course we are getting to the business end of the group stages and there is a bit of pressure on players and coaches.

South African coach, Carlos Parreira, who has already won a World Cup with Brazil, blasted Swiss referee Massimo Busacca for reducing his team to 10 men in a 3-0 loss to Uruguay that severely dented South Africa’s dream of advancing to the next stage of the tournament.

Busacca was criticised by the Brazilian for issuing a red card to goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in the 76th minute, only the second red card given to a keeper in World Cup finals history, although he did also say that his view had been blocked and he did not see the incident.

“He is the worst referee in this competition,” Parreira said. “I hope we don’t see his face again in any game anymore. “

I think it is safe to say that Parriera may get his wish since he may see only one more referee in the tournament before South Africa are eliminated.

Former FIFA Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal had a frustrating time in his side’s scoreless draw with Ivory Coast in Group G.

The Real Madrid star was cautioned for diving, did not play well and has not scored a goal at international  level since before the qualifiers.

“I don’t understand the decisions of the referees sometimes,” said Ronaldo. “They are supposed to protect the best players.”

They are supposed to protect all players, Cristiano, and so far they have they have done not a bad job!

Argentinian coach, Diego Maradona has taken the same line. Protect Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez he demands.

I wonder how many Argentinian defenders so far have fouled or been cautioned for fouls on opposing forwards?

When it is not going well, blame the referee!

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A tale of two penalties

Two ‘penalty incidents’ from the match between Spain and Switzerland and the match between South Africa and Uruguay were highly significant on Wednesday.

The goal scored by Gelsen Fernandez in the Spain v Switzerland match secured the Swiss a first World Cup victory over Spain and put sudden pressure on the pre-tournaments. It was really a scrappy finish although the buildup exposed the Spanish defence.

A quick passing movement put Swiss forward Eren Derdiyok through on goal. Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas rushed off his line to make a sliding challenge on the Swiss forward and brought him down. The ball broke to teammate Fernandez who scrambled it home.

Had the goal not been scored this was the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and referee Howard Webb, who was very close to play, would have awarded a penalty kick and sent off Casillas.

Technically he could have cautioned  Casillas for his challenge but he used common sense and kept his yellow card in his pocket.

The other significant penalty incident happened in the 80th minute of the South Africa v Uruguay match.

Uruguayan forward Suarez was caught on the ankle by South African goalkeeper Khune inside the goal area. Referee Massimo Busacca of Switzerland correctly awarded a penalty kick and sent off the goalkeeper.

They were very similar incidents but their different outcomes resulted in different punishments, although a goal was scored in each.

Spain still have Casillas of Real Madrid available for the next match while the World Cup is probably over for Etumeleng Khune of Kaiser Chiefs.

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