Saturday, July 3, 2010

world cup thoughts of the day, part 1: Ghana-Uruguay

As I lay awake last night, unable to sleep, I was thankful for the fact that I didn't see the Ghana game live, and thankful that, prior to hearing about the game, I didn't really care about the result. Even as a disinterested neutral, watching the replays was almost too much to bear.

For those who don't know yet, Suarez was recently handed a one-match suspension for his handball in the final minute of extra-time.

It is another horrendous decision, this time made by the FIFA board almost a day after the match was completed. Watching the replay, it's obvious that Suarez is guilty of blatant cheating, and should play no further part in the World Cup. His decision to block the goal was calculated and deliberate, intended only to give his team a fighting chance of progressing to the semifinal. How is it any different, then, from doping, which carries a much larger mandatory ban? I'm also appalled to find so many people condoning or praising Suarez's actions, or comparing to Torsten Frings' handball (2:15 into the video) that was missed by the referees against the USA in 2002. While I have no doubt that Frings' handball was deliberate in a loose sense of the word, it's a different type of play altogether. For me, Suarez's handball is cheating of the most despicable and cynical sort. If I were playing on the Uruguay team I would have refused to take a penalty in the shoot-out, and if I were Uruguayan I wouldn't celebrate the victory at all.

I think we can all agree that, with two shoot-out wins, one the result of horrendous unsportsmanlike play, Uruguay don't deserve to be in the World Cup anymore. Let's go Netherlands!!

Interesting note, however: The goalmouth scramble that ended with Suarez's handball should have actually been flagged for offside, as this replay clearly shows. The offside is on the initial header, with the player who takes the initial left-footed strike at goal the culprit, since he is closer to the goal-line than the goalkeeper....doesn't change how I feel about Suarez: it's one of those borderline decisions, and there's no way Suarez knew about it at the time, and no one seems to be pointing it out in the aftermath either...


  1. Actually, Appiah was onside the moment the goalkeeper punched the ball.

  2. it's a really close call, since the goalkeeper is charging out quite quickly, but I still think I'm right. first of all, though the goalie may have gotten a touch, Mensah definitely got his head on the ball. At the moment he heads the ball, Appiah is closer to the goal line than the goalkeeper, and only one defender is closer to the goalline than he is. Thus is in an offside position (check the rule). When he then moves to the ball to strike it, he becomes guilty of offside.

  3. I could, admittedly use a better's hard to tell exactly when mensah makes contact with the ball, and whether the goalie has really charged out past appiah's position....clearly it's one of those calls that's close enough that i would never blame the assistant for giving the benefit of the doubt to the attacking team