Archive for June 29th, 2010

Cut off point

The referees who will be available for the Quarter Final Matches tournament were announced today and it is no surprise that the referees who were involved in the tournament’s major controversies will be going home.

So the World Cup journey has finished for Koman Coulibali of Mali who disallowed a perfectly good American goal in the final minutes of the match against Slovenia and for Stephane Lannoy of France who allowed a Luis Fabiano goal to stand despite the Brazilian striker handling the ball twice. He also wrongly sent off Brazilian star Kaka.

Also leaving South Africa are Roberto Rosetti of Italy who allowed an offside goal by Carlos Tevez of Argentina in the match against Mexico and Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay who failed to spot that a shot by England’s Frank Lampard had crossed the line in the match against Germany.

In all 10 of the 29 referee teams originally selected have been axed.

The participation of some who have been retained will depend on the results of their own national teams in the quarter final matches of the competition.

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Referee masterclass

Many people were looking forward to tonight’s Spain v Portugal tie but the match was disappointing.

Spain were positive – Portugal were negative and the game failed to live up to expectations.

Spain had 61% of possession while Portugal had 39%.

Former FIFA World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, contributed little since he was isolated up front as his team mates defended in depth.

Referee Hector Baldassi of Argentina, however, came out of the match with a lot of credit. It was an excellent appointment by FIFA since he had the feel for the match between the two Iberian neighbours.

He refused to be taken in by the diving and theatrics of the players of both teams. He did not get every call right but he awarded decisions from close range and was always in charge. The players respected him.

It was a top class performance from a referee who is highly experienced in the white hot atmosphere of Argentinian and South American football.

His further participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup may be limited because of the progress of Argentina in the tournament but he can be well satisfied by what may be his last match.

When there is a big match, appoint a top official.

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We are nearer goal line technology

The goal line technology debate is now headline news.

Following the major error in the England v Germany match when a Frank Lampard goal was disallowed when it was clearly over the line, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has stated that he now wishes to re-open the goal line technology debate.

He had no other option.

FIFA declared at the International FA Board AGM in February that it wanted to end all goal line technology research and experiments, much to the disappointment of the Football association and the Scottish Football Association.

Events in South Africa have since proved this stance to be deeply flawed and at a news briefing today, the FIFA President said:

“Having witnessed such a situation,” Blatter said, “we have to open again this file, definitely. Naturally we will take on board again the discussion about technology. Something has to be changed.”

I expect the go ahead to be given to the companies researching the technology.

This is a very complex technical problem and has been investigated for a number of years.

Hawkeye in tennis is not the same as Hawkeye in football since the goals are not just the goal line, but a surface from the ground to the crossbar through which the whole ball must pass.

The adidas/Cairos system works with a microchip in the ball and there have already been problems in its experimental stage during the 2008 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile.

There is no reason why both systems should not be available to leagues or national associations which wish to use the technology so long as they have been proved to be effective.

There is still some way to go before we have a system which is 100% and we may never reach that target, but things have definitely changed in the last two days.

Sepp Blatter is aware he must change his position and he will.

As far as video replays are concerned, however, there is no chance of them being approved.

And rightly so!

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The top teams emerge

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is now getting to the interesting stage.

Sudden death matches in the round of 16 onwards mean that there is no benefit in taking a negative approach.

The top teams are beginning to emerge.

Germany v Argentina is a mouth watering encounter in the quarter finals as is the match between Brazil and Holland.

In refereeing the top teams are also beginning to emerge.

Howard Webb of England was always in control of the last 16 match between Brazil and Chile while the refereeing controversies on Sunday involving Roberto Rosetti of Italy and Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay will surely be a major hindrance to their advance in the tournament.

Alberto Udiano of Spain had a better performance in the match between Netherlands and Slovakia, after his first match but it is difficult to see him featuring in the final stages of the competition.

Progress of the referees in the World Cup is also influenced by the success of their own teams.

Rosetti and Webb will have a chance to progress now that Italy and England are out of the tournament, as will Massimo Bussaco of Switzerland.

For the South American referees the chances of progress seem limited because South American teams have been very successful so far.

Expect early exits from the World Cup for Hector Baldassi of Argentina and Carlos Simon of Brazil because of the progress of their own teams.

Two dark horses will be the Asian referees, Yuichi Nishimura and Ravshan Irmatov who have each moved through their first three matches without controversy.

There are seven matches left after Tuesday’s ties and there is all to play for both players and referees.

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