Archive for July 11th, 2010

No Google on this Webb

Search engines like Google give us all instant access to information. Choose a subject and within milliseconds you have thousands of answers to you question.

Unless the question is “How do you prepare to referee a World Cup Final?”

Howard Webb will need no help in finding out from Google how to prepare for the match tonight.

His preparation has been going on for years of course since he started refereeing. As he gained more experience and gained promotion so he became familiar with the many attributes needed to be a top referee.

These qualities were the ones which saw him selected for the World Cup in the first place and now he has been appointed to the Final, the ultimate achievement for any referee.

The preparation for the Final will be a continuation of what has been taking place at the Referee Headquarters in Pretoria.

Howard and his team will have examined DVDs of the two teams over and over again to look at their tactics, the players in the teams, the way they set up at set pieces and so on.

The coaches of Spain and Netherlands will have done exactly the same in preparing their teams for tonight’s match.

‘If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’

Howard Webb and his team will be well prepared

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Mistakes galore – and a great game

The play off matches for third and fourth place in most tournaments are usually easily forgettable but this was not the case with the match between Germany and Uruguay in Port Elizabeth last night.

The match had players showing off their considerable skills on a dreadful wet evening and both teams were playing to win.

Five goals were scored and every one was the result of a mistake.

The first German goal was the fault of Uruguay goalkeeper Muslera who failed to hold on to a long range shot from German captain Schweinsteiger and Mueller was quick to push the ball home. Uruguay equalised when Schweinsteiger lost the ball inside his opponents’ half and the Uruguay forward Cavani scored on the quick break.

Poor defending on the left flank by Germany allowed Forlan to volley home a cross to make it 2-1 for Uruguay before Uruguay goalkeeper made his second mistake of the night when he failed to cut out a long cross and Jansen headed into an empty net.

The final goal came when Uruguay captain Lugano lost his bearings when trying to man mark at a corner kick and the ball came off his leg for Khedira to head the winning goal.

But it was a great match to watch. Without the mistakes there would have been no goals.

Mistakes are part of football and accepted as such – unless you are a referee.

If five goals in a match were caused by refereeing errors, the referee would have been sacked and FIFA would already be holding a public enquiry.

Mistakes are part of football – that is why it is the greatest game in the world.

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If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it

Recently we have had the controversy over Frank Lampard’s non-awarded goal against Germany. Another topic which has gathered pace in the media is the awarding of a penalty goal for instances such as the handball by Luis Suarez of Uruguay in the last minute of extra time which prevented Ghana reaching the World Cup semi final.

The cry now is for the Law to be changed and a penalty goal awarded.

About 18 years ago the Laws of the Game were changed to give an automatic red card to a player who illegally prevented a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

It was a sensible change since previously the offence was punished on its individual merit rather than the consequences of the offence.

It is a step too far, however, to introduce a penalty goal into football and must be avoided at all costs.

Of course everyone sympathised with Ghana but we should not consider changing the Laws because of a single high profile incident.

There was similar outrage about the handball by Thiery Henry in the play-off match between France and the Republic of Ireland. He did not prevent a goal, he created one. Everyone sympathised with the Irish for the injustice but it was not a reason to change the Laws.

In my opinion, also, it was not a reason to bring Henry in front of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for what, in the final analysis, was a hand ball – but that is another matter.

Think of the consequences of awarding a penalty goal. . A player illegally preventing a goal would be automatically sent off and a goal awarded. What about a player who prevents an obvious goal-scoring opportunity? Is this also a red card and a penalty goal?

Or should it be a yellow card and a penalty goal?

No. Avoid the sensational, over the top reaction. Keep the Law as it is.

If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!

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