Archive for June 19th, 2010

Negatives and positives

Referee Koman Coulibaly of Mali refereed his first, and probably last match, in the 2010 World Cup yesterday.

He was in charge of the important Group C match between USA and Slovenia and was found wanting.

He has, however, made a major impact on football, or as they call it, soccer, in USA.

Never before has soccer had such high profile coverage in the US media. There is a collective feeling of being cheated after the strike by Maurice Edu was disallowed for an offence that no one, even the all seeing television replays, managed to see.

The Los Angeles Times took a philosophical approach.

“He didn’t explain his call and he does not have to, at least under FIFA’s strange regulations. The match is history now. Chances are, the U.S. will defeat Algeria and secure a place in the knockout rounds. If so, all the hot air being expelled at the moment will be forgotten.

The man from Mali should not be taking the heat. In any case, how could he have been against the Americans? After all, he was born on the Fourth of July.”

The Sacramento Bee was equally scathing,

“Koman Coulibaly, and FIFA, should take note because what they did to the U.S. World Cup team Friday night at Ellis Park is unforgivable. They robbed the Americans of a win, plain and simple. And then they scurried away without uttering a word of explanation, leaving T.V. viewers across the globe scratching their heads, fans across Ameerica outraged, and the players and coaches in the U.S. camp feeling “gutted” as US captain Landon Donovan put it.”

The San Diego Union Tribune said:

Koman Coulibaly is a soccer referee from the western African nation of Mali.

He is 39 years old, 5-foot-11 and used to play volleyball. He has a degree from the Faculte des Sciences Juridiques et Economiques in Bamako and works as a financial auditor for the government. He speaks French and some English. He is said to be serious and shy.

He also, U.S. fans will tell you, has the ability to see things that aren’t there.

The embarrassment and frustration of a 2-2 tie Friday against tiny Slovenia, no doubt, will be heaped upon Coulibaly’s narrow shoulders after what looked suspiciously like a phantom call in the 87th minute. It denied the Americans a dramatic, come-from-behind, one-for-the-ages victory, and while it didn’t eliminate them from the World Cup, it did makes things a bit more complicated.”

Soccer is getting more coverage than ever in USA and at least that is one positive to come from the strange decision of Koman Coulibaly of Mali.

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Handballs and penalties

We have had quite a few handballs and penalty kicks in the World Cup recently.

A couple fall into the ‘why on earth did he do that?’

What was Nemanja Vidic of Serbia thinking when he handled a ball that was way over his head in the match against Germany? Lucky for him that German striker, Lukas Podolski, missed the kick.

And what was of Algeria’s second-half substitute, Abdelkader Ghezzal, thinking about when he also handled the ball in the penalty area in the match against Slovenia? Unfortunately for him it was his second yellow card and after just 15 minutes on the field he was sent off.  

The penalty kick in today’s match between Australian and Ghana was different, however. The ball was shot at goal from close range and struck the arm of Australian forward Harry Kewell.

Was it hand/arm to ball which would be deliberate hand ball, a red card and a penalty kick or was it ball to hand/arm which would have been no offence and no red card?

The decision of Italian referee Roberto Rosetti was a penalty and a red card.

It was a difficult decision to make but you have to accept it.

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