The FIFA 2010 World Cup has certainly been an exciting one so far with a number of upsets including Serbia defeating Germany, Switzerland beating the Spanish and of course South Africa emerging victorious over France last week. Upsets of a different nature altogether however have been caused to both players and fans the world over with the officiating at some of the matches.
Besides a seemingly randomly disallowed goal by USA against Slovenia last week, and numerous dodgy fouls and penalty awards, a couple of serious and blatant errors were made by the Fifa referees and assistant referees during the matches over the weekend. Notably, Super Frankie Lampard’s legitimate goal was disallowed by Uruguayan assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa and match referee Jorge Larrionda. This could quite easily have been avoided had Fifa decided to employ well-established goal-line technology. Instead, both the players and (England!) fans received a raw deal. An unfairly awarded goal that was clearly scored from an offside position by Argentina’s Carlos Tevez later that day caused the entire rhythm and attitude of the Mexican team to alter into an aggressive and negative one from the supremely positive one they had been playing with.
In both cases, the events affected the psychology of the team and had the goals been fairly allowed or disallowed, the remainder of the game could likely have turned out quite differently.
Wonkie believes that the technology is there and it should be used to make the game more fair. Diving and play acting – notably with the Italian and Portuguese teams seems to have risen to Oscar level. This makes for excessive interruptions as players tumble theatrically in the hope of receiving free kicks and penalties – even a feather touch is capable of making some players look like they’ve just been flung head-first down a mountain. The use of replays, although not infallible, certainly could help referees make more informed decisions – just as they do in cricket.
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