World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Verdict on that 20-card trick

mandeep_sanghera.gifNUREMBERG - The antics of Holland and Portugal's players stunned me as I watched their second-round match from the stands.

The referee was more like a croupier than the match official of a last-16 World Cup tie.
He dealt a record-equalling number of cards - 16 yellows, including four players (two from each side) being booked twice and seeing red.

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had to watch from the bench and said afterwards that he thought the referee had lost control of the game. It certainly appeared so from where I was sitting.

"It seemed that the official was permanently holding up a card and was determined to book everyone," said Van Nistelrooy.

Khalid Boulahrouz started things off by plunging a boot into the thigh of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese winger was soon forced off and Mark van Bommel's poor excuse for a dive saw Portugal respond with some of their own cynical tactics.

Costinha, Boulahrouz, Deco and Gio van Bronkhorst were all dismissed as clocking the cards became a job in itself.
But it did make for compelling viewing. The coaches in both dug-outs were going crazy, the fans were whistling and it looked like things could turn nasty on the pitch a couple of times.

Boulahrouz was moaning afterwards that his second yellow card should not have been brandished.
It came as the result of Figo going to ground easily. The Dutch right-back may have had a point, but his earlier offence could have drawn a red, so I had little sympathy with him.

Van Nistelrooy called Portugal's players clever in the way they worked the referee and, while the Russian referee fell for a lot of it, both sets of players were just as much to blame.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:17 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • paul cooke wrote:

what a load of nonsense, it was the players who cheated not the ref. he was right to give yellow cards for the offences that the players committed. if they did'nt cheat then they would'nt get yellow cards. stop blaming the referees

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Although the referee lost control of the match, it remained a highly entertaining and thoroughly interesting game to watch. Also, don't forget that these suspensions are not a little useful for us in the next round as well! Big snub for Ruud as well, not being brought on instead of Vennegoor of Hesselink. Not that either player would have had any time to do anything.

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  • 3.
  • At 05:47 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Dirk wrote:

Ref's worst error was not pulling the red card for Boulahrouz, this would have set the atmosphere soon enough.

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  • 4.
  • At 05:59 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • iain stanbridge wrote:

Being a referee myself I had sympathy for the ref, but when cards are shown that early in a match then he makes a rod for his own back. Saying that, the players didn't need much encouragement to ,on the whole, cheat!

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  • 5.
  • At 06:18 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

I wonder how much did English FA paied to that Russian ref?
Seems like every time there is Russian refs involved English National team benefits just like in 1966 and just like in 2006.

He was yellow carding everybody Dutch and Port players left and right and this was done becouse in the next Round it would make England job my easy.
World Cup football corruption in your face.

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  • 6.
  • At 06:20 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

It's pathetic to blame to referee for all the yellow / red cards. The way some of the players fouled and cheated beggared belief.

The TV last night used Figo's headbutt as "evidence" that the referee had lost control. The fact was the ref was giving a yellow card at the time, he didn't have eyes in the back of his head, surely the assistant Refs are there to help the ref out in those circumstances.

Boulahrouz deserved to be sent off for the tackle on Ronaldo, Deco could have gone for the his first yellow and Figo should have been sent off. The only one of 4 red cards who might have been unlucky was Van Bronkhurst.

I disagree with Iain Stanbridge. foul play has to be punished regardless of when it occurs. If players percieve that the referee won't give cards then there will be more fouls, not less.

The early yellow cards should have served as a warning to players on both sides. As it was thay took no notice.

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  • 7.
  • At 06:23 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Alex M wrote:

I find Blatter's criticism of the ref in this game absolutely ridiculous. Come on, the coaches of both sides have accused each other of "unfair play", what more do you need? Both teams played dirty, what was Ivanov supposed to do? Give oral warnings for head-butting, thigh-stamping and leg tackles from behind? Get real, other refs in this championship were giving out yellows for 50/50 airball collisions. If anything, Ivanov haven't sent enough players off the field (Figo). Blatter shows himself as a biggest hypocryte promoting referee toughness, but then finding a scapegoat for his own horrible yellow card policies that he himself imposed on the refs. van Basten's comments are typical of a losing team's coach--instead of addressing questions of why he benched his star striker in such an important game, its just easier to say that Ivanov lost the game for him; nevermind the fact that Ivanov gave his team one man advantage TWICE during that game.

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As a former referee and keen footballer myself, I totally agreed with the referees decisions in last nights game. I thought that each and every card that was brandished by the referee was clearly justified. You can't keep blaming referees for the amount of Cautions and Sending Off's. The blame has to lay with the players.
As for the comments from both sets of teams after the game, I think that they are wrong - and even worse for Sepp Blatter to criticise the referee after it is he who is responsible for a clamp down on the Laws of the Game being applied! Disgraceful. Blatter should be the one getting a ticking off for his comments - not the poor old referee, who although the game did seem to get out of hand, never seemed to "bottle" any of the decisions.
The only unfortunate thing to come from the game was that Figo was not sent off as a result of his head butt on Boulharouz, but this was quite blatantly behind the referee as can be seen from the slow motion replays.

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  • 9.
  • At 06:47 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

I sympathise with the comments that hard refereeing is the only way to clean up the game. Coaching and reffing juniors makes me despair of the tactics that are copied from 'professional'; players at the earliest age groups by the cunning kiddies.

However instigating a harsh regime at the world cup finals is too late. It must be firmly implemented at the national leagues to influence behaviour before you try to apply it in such an important arena. Just look at the comments and strength of feelings in these blogs.

Importantly though the regime MUST be consistently applied across all countries at the highest levels in the game. Until that happens yuo will always end up with inconsistencies at the finals.

FIFA - work harder to get it right.

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  • 10.
  • At 06:55 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Gareth wrote:

As a long sufering world cup fan, last night was the final straw and epitomized the malaise that is running deep in this beautiful game. Really, how many more world cups must be subjected to blatant corruption and interfering?

It seems that FIFA have yet again set the wheels in motion for their influence to decide the ultimate winners of this once great tournament.

A great English fan I am, but a proud supporter would I not be if England win this year. Fifa have decided; a mediocre England team will win it.

Let's look at last night: Unclear as to who might become England's next opponents the refree decides to take action and tears strips off both sides to weaken them as much as possible for the next round against England.

The world needs to open its eyes and realize that we have lost our beautiul tournament.

Let's look at some hitorical evidence of Fifa interference: Maradona was cheated in 1994 for speaking out against FIFA, Ronaldo the same in 1998 and even this year. In 2002 Italy were robbed again and Korea made it to the semi to promote football in their potentially very rich market.

The stage is set yet again, for a FIFA-chosen winner to emerge. England will not have to rely on magic to win, because they have Fifa on their side. Why not just present the cup already to England so that the rest of us who care about the game can watch great football to see who "wins" as runners up?

I am an England fan, but if we are to win the world cup, let's win it fairly and let's not ruin the greatest game in the world.

Please sit up and listen. Please take note; this tournament is not what we believe it to be.

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  • 11.
  • At 07:01 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

The players are to blame, but only for taking advantage of the ludicrous situation that Sepp Blatter has created. If a referee doesn't follow FIFA guidelines they sack him, so what're they supposed to do?

Blatter clearly doesn't understand football is a contact sport.

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I thought last night, the tackles weren't overly bad, but the diving from both sides was absolutely pathetic, and both sides should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

The refereeing however, was pretty shambolic IMO. Way too trigger happy. I don't lay the blame entirely at their feet, as am aware that FIFA are constantly issuing instructions trying to eradicate certain aspects of the game.

But sometimes a bit of common sense can be applied, surely. Boulharouz certainly can't have any complaints.... I've seen tackles like the first be awarded straight reds.

The Dutch contingent on http://www.footballfanzone.net are adamant that they were robbed, but I thought Portugal overall worked extremely hard, and deserved their win.

For the neutral though.... thoroughly entertaining game.

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  • 13.
  • At 07:16 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Terry Campion wrote:

Perhaps Team Coaches could show and read their players the Rules Book.
Modern players consistantly cheat, either by kicking, pushing, tripping, tugging, diving and generally seeking an unlawful advantage by cheating.
Perhaps Refs should only be concerned with goal kicks, throw ins, and obvious hand balls and offsides. Let the cheats kick each other around to their hearts content and we's soon recognise them for the dishonest Machiavellian cheats that many players are.
Referees have to try to identify these devious cheating overpaid thugs while attempting to protect the skilfull, often facing barages of verbal abuse too.
Is there any other form of employment that requires dishonesty as a prime constituent of the ability to do the job?
And Italy have just been rewarded with a penalty goal after the player took an obvious dive.
Pathetic.
And these cheats are "Role Models"??
God help us.

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  • 14.
  • At 07:16 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Graham wrote:

I think the referee performed superbly apart from the very first foul on Ronaldo which was a clear and deliberate attempt to maim him out of the game.

That should have been an immediate "red".

It seemed that the Dutch master plan was to maim one or more of the star players and then proceed to dive at every opportunity. This appears to have been more than chance and looked like deliberate policy from the "coach".

Regarding diving, surely the punishment meted out should match the effect of the intended cheating. --If the result would be a yellow card for an opponent the diver should be given a yellow, if the result would be a red (if for example the cheated player was already on yellow) then the diver should get a red.

If the intention is to dive for a penalty, perhaps one should be awarded to the other side!

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  • 15.
  • At 07:18 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • iStalker wrote:

Frankly speaking, Ivanov's reffereing had some serios mistakes. But also a lot of right decisions. And, above all, his reffereing did not lead to unfair result of the game. Portugal scored a goal, Netherlands did not.

But look at referee in the game Austr vs Italy. He gave totally unfair penalty, and this only mistake make result in the game. Italy to go, Aus to out.

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  • 16.
  • At 07:29 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Gareth God Bless you brother I am with you all the way on every single point you made. You are absolutly correct in ever way.
This is what I posted on the other blog regarding Germany Argentina match and my God I can see it comming before World Cup Started.
Here is my post:

Good luck to Germany and the rest.
Now some of you might think that I am paranoid but that is fine by me it's just some strange vibs I am getting from this World Cup that makes me think that something is wrong with it.
Whatever it is I still think that this World Cup is fixed from the start until end. I have said it before and I'll say it now.
One must start analysing things from the beginning. Now as I said it it looks like FIFA wants Germany and England to progress and what they did is they have put very weak opponents in front of them both for Germany and England.
Germans almost did not play any half decent team so did English.
No disrespect to them both but this are just facts.
English and Germans spent huge amount of money for this World Cup and this are also facts. Propoganda machine is working in full for both of them. One must ask question why was England and Germany was put is such a easy group and how come during Sweden and Germany ref gave very easy red card to Swedes and why in yesterdays game ref was giving red and yellow to Portuguese and Dutch players left and right? The answer is to manipulate and weaken the opponent before they meet England and help Germany to play against 10 man Sweden. This is so obvious that only blind and very stupid man can see and understand. Why do you think Brazilians can't be asked to play 100% and why do you think that all this suspect yellow cards and red card are given? Sure blame the ref but there is more to it then one can see. And I really think that it's disgusting when National FA'S and teams resort to this sort of things in order to win the World Cup. But it's not only National Teams and FA'S to be blamed. since there is a lot of money involved the multinationals need to have this both teams to progress so there is a huge pressure on FIFA to comply with what sponsors are saying. There is now almost no doubt in my mind that this World Cup has been already favoured for this two nations before it even started.
And I can almost assure you that during Germany and Argentina match Argentines will be done by ref's bad decision and almost 100% Germany will beat Argentina.
in my opinion Germany must win this one, there is no way that they will lose even if some strange penalty comes up against Argentina. It is already pre-programmed.
So guys therefore take it easy and just enjoy the Eurovision song contest which is World Cup 2006.

PS: Note that this is only an opinion and is not based on any documental facts.


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  • 17.
  • At 07:31 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Stalker: but you forgot to mantion that he gave a red card to Italian guy for almost nothing.

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  • 18.
  • At 07:36 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • lex baars wrote:

As a footbal ref myself and a dutch team supporter I feel that the blame should be left squarely on the ref's shoulders and fifa for this disgrace of a game.

The ref sets the tone of the game with his opening actions. The players are professional readers of the ref and act accordingly. The game became more of a farce as time went on.

The second half was a display of time wasting by portugal, a team that was hanging on for dear life in a game they were being badly outplayed. The ref was clueless and allowed this to continue time and time again, with holland being robbed of the chance to equalize the game in the second half.

The blame goes to fifa for allowing this substandard ref into this difficult position.

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  • 19.
  • At 07:59 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Toke wrote:

For God sake.. All the cards were well-deserved.. The players was maniacs down on the field, beginning with the Hollands not playing fairplay.. All the cards in the match, was like i said earlier well-deserved and the referee handled the match like a real pro.. the best referee i've yet seen at this world cup.. The worst referee yet was in the match Italy-Australia... That was a real amateur.. but in that match your talking about he was really good..

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  • 20.
  • At 08:13 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • David H wrote:

Interesting comments above.

I think players should clearly be sent off for dangerous play e.g. Boulahrouz's tackle on Ronaldo was a clear red. The fact just a yellow was given and it led to Ronaldo limping off must have had an effect on the other Portuguese players. Figo should have had a red, but, again, was the head butt a knock-on (excuse pun) effect of the yellow?

On the other hand, Deco's red was rididculous, especially after being twirled onto the ground.

I wish "professional misconduct" rather than dangerous play could have a punishment such as ten minutes in a sin bin. Or a penalty, or...

Because if players are sent off it influences the results and we do not then know for sure who is the better team - take the Final between Barcelona and Arsenal. OK Lehrmann prof. foul.. off.. yes it is in the rules but as a fan of football I would love to have seen 11 players from each side for a full game of hopefully beautiful flowing football.
IS there a way of penalising the teams without penalising the fans?

Oh and....
surely it would be a conspiracy to suggest that this was a Russian referre's revenge for the seven goals Portugal put past Russia in qualifying and....
Holland's orange was literally made of reds and yellows...
David H


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  • 21.
  • At 08:13 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • LukeinKoeln wrote:

I was going to make some comments about the game last night but after readining all the blogs here, it seems as though conspiracy theorists are trying to take over sport as well! It's hard enough being put through the mill by underperforming teams. It's just plain ridiculous to say that thw result of the whole competition has been fixed! Why can't we simply say "oh, that was a little strange" or "I haven't seen that happen before". I may be naive but why can't we just accept that life throws up the occaisonal 18 card trick and it would be a damn side more boring if it didn't!
Still, I agree with Schweini 100% that van Bommel's play acting was disgraceful. I am worried too by Scolari's response: appeal against the Deco yellow but add no comment whatsoever about the disgraceful behaviour of his "captain". Even if Figo plays against England - it would be another one in the eye for the conspiracy theorists if he does - he should be at least stripped of his captain's band,just as an example to all those children who idolise him and may now see headbutting as part of the "captain's" role.
One final note though, it was great to see that even after as controversial a game it seems the fans have behaved better than the players. The atmosphere in Koeln was electric but well behaved. Great fun!

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  • 22.
  • At 08:14 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Toke

I understand why you are saying that Russian ref from Protugal and Holland match was goog it's becouse everytime there was a Russian ref involved the English National Team benefited just like in 1966.
Could it be the case of corruption? I dear you to admit it but who knows maybe one day you will see how England is beeing set up to go very far in this WC without playing any good football and half good teams.

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  • 23.
  • At 08:16 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • ben collins wrote:

ditto paul cook and rest. The ref gave yellows for yellow card offences, what else should he have done? I want to see football not cynical chopping, good riddance to foulers. the Oz v Iti game tonight was pretty clean and enjoyably flowing.
Re Port V Holland blame is 100% with the players.

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  • 24.
  • At 08:23 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Godzilla wrote:

The ref was not to blame.. the dutch set the tone right at the start by trying to get Ronaldo out of the game with a horrendous tackle. The guy was lucky to escape with a yellow card. It was like a game between high schoolers.. not professionals. Both teams should have been suspended and the third-place teams from their groups should have been fighting for the spot in the quarters. But Fifa is Fifa.

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  • 25.
  • At 08:24 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Natig Ganiyev wrote:

To all the FIFA conspiracy plot believers -- you can't disagree with the fact that the NED-POR game yesterday was prolly the most physical. Carding makes sense if you go back and watch those tackles again. I'd attribute this to history between the two teams, rather than to the referee executing FIFA orders to weaken England's next opponent.

just my two cents...

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  • 26.
  • At 08:37 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • NG wrote:

Great entertainment - the ref played his part perfectly - I wanted the Dutch to score so I could have another 30 minutes of hand-bags at 20 paces and Ronaldo crying on the side (has anyone told him Gazza has already been there/done that). The highlight being Scolari defending Figo, saying: "Jesus said we should turn the other cheek. Unfortunately, Figo is not Jesus Christ." Brilliant!

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  • 27.
  • At 08:37 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Innit Obvious wrote:

I have to give a big thanks to Gareth and Stephan Blunt for pointing out what should be obvious to so many football fans (and FIFA haters) around the world.

Isn't is plain to see that this thing has been fixed as much as possible before it even began, just as most recent World Cups? The favoured teams receive the easiest draws - and this year it looks like England (again) and Germany.

The FIFA-controlled referees then do their part to weaken the opponents of FIFA's favourite squads...Doesn't anyone remember what happened last time to Italy and so many other worthy teams? (It's hard to forget when the English commentators tell their audience that they "like to hear the sound of Italian children crying"...)

As has already been mentioned, it was blatantly obvious that the Russian referee was bought off and instructed to give as many cards as possible to both teams so that either side that faced England would be as weakeneed as possible. It was equally as obvious that the referees tried to help Germany as much as possible in their last match (even though they were obviously the stronger side).

My question to the English is this:

Is this really the way you want to win? Does it feel good to win this way? Do you enjoy it? Well, I suppose this is the way the British Empire has always won, in sport, in politics and in economics...

Let's just hope that a miracle occurs and that a really talented team (like Argentina) breaks all of the barriers and becomes what I would call a true champion.

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  • 28.
  • At 08:39 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Andy DIckson wrote:

Blatter has let himself down with these comments. Having at the start of the world cup advocated a tough stance towards rough play he has now jumped on a bandwagon heading in a different direction.

Ivanov got most things right in this match; if anything reds could have been brandished more readily the chellenges on ronaldo alone could have justified straight red cards and so too the headbutt by Figo. It is too easy to turn on an official when players lose their discipline, but the referee is in a hopeless position- all he can do is seek to protect those that are playing the game fairly against reckless play.

I hope this is not the last game he referees in this tournament simply because he had the invidious task of taking charge of one of the most bitter world cup matches in recent memory.

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  • 29.
  • At 08:44 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Cyril wrote:

Clearly one of the most controversial games ive seen so far, not just for the on-field antics and drama but as we can see, from the response drawn at this little convention here !

Maybe the effects and conclusions of this match will add to the conundrum of ideas regarding the involvement of the third ref who would help in the clarifying of seemingly obvious yet disturbingly wrong calls upon closer examination.

I hope that those of us who are unfortunate enough to watch the matches on tv but who have the benefit of seeing replays and closeups can clearly see the injustices and errors made by the refs (who are human remember) will argue that refs are making terribly incorrect calls and that the frequency of yellow cards in this world cup is horrific, thereby making the case stronger for a third ref.

I personally strongly support this idea. Of course this could also involve more disputes off the field, with coaches and managers getting on the cases of the third ref.

other sports have employed the third ref, not always to the benefit of the sport, but seeing as how things seem to have gone out of hand in this world cup, i hardly think its a bad idea to consider the idea of a third ref.

Oh and to add to this, i just watched the Italy game and yet again, the bad calls prevail, this time resultign in the elimination of Australia, who looked favorable to win that match.

What do you guys think ?

Go Portugal !!

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  • 30.
  • At 08:53 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Steven Marren wrote:

This is just silly, its all the players fault, they think that in the modern game its ok to grab people and push and tug at shirts, heres a shock its not.

It may come as a suprise but football is a non contact sport and players have been getting away with a little bit more every game until everyone thinks grabbing someones shirt whos faster than you is the right way to tackle or to let the ref know you had some contact is to role around on the floor like someones just shot you.

Refs have been letting this behaviour slide for so long there had to be a point where the FIFA board decide enough really is enough and an example has to be set. Hopefully the players will learn.

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  • 31.
  • At 08:56 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Krusty Geezer wrote:

I was absolutely amazed to read Sepp Blatter's comments regarding the Russian Ref.
I am writing from DK and watched the match with 5 other Danes. We, and the commentatory on the box were basically in accord. We could not see what else the ref was supposed to do?! He's already been pre-instructed by FIFA that he's to come down hard on small and large offences alike. And that, for the second WC in a row, there's to be focus on fair play, punishment of dives etc.
More to the point, there should have been more cards! Cocu for his wrestling of Deco to the ground. Figo should have got a 2nd for his contact with Van Bommel (Or was it Boulahrouz?). So should have the supposed victim. His acting reminded me of Rivaldo's pathetic, cheating corner-post writhings.
(Apropos said contact; let's stop sensationalising it. It was by no means a head butt. A head butt is a very effective and far more violent action.)
I see the Dutch as the principal perpertrators in this ill mannered game. For Van Basten to later comment that it was a shame that the Ref didn't let them play shows an impressive detachment from reality, making you wonder if he hasn't been visiting his local Coffee Shop just a tad too often. The Dutch team played the game with a total lack of sporting spirit. They cheated, they fouled, they did everything but play ball. Personally I think that there should be further repercussions against them. And the Dutch FA should seriously rethink before letting such a psychopath like Balahrouz out of his cage again, let alone represent their country.
We do have to remember that Sepp Blatter is now very old man, who is wont to come with illogical utterings. His sensibilities are offended when players remove their shirts. This is the sole reason why there's the yellow card rule for this. He personally feels that this is excessive celebration, and thereby bad sportsmanship. No ruling though on players appealing for cards at every single tackling. Yet for all his sensitivty to the naked male torso, he wants women footballers to wear skimpier kit. And now his statements about Ivanov to the Portugese media, contra FIFA's supposed focus areas in this WC. He should be apologising to him; then resign, ignore his backroom succesion deal with 'Der Kaiser' and let Platini take over.

PS: Hats off to the Germans for organising what has so far been a very successful and, off the pitch, good spirited event.

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  • 32.
  • At 08:59 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Richard Whiting wrote:

Simply put, the players and their coaches are atthe root of this fiasco. If the players played according to the rules, and the coaches showed them how to, then much of the red card/yellow card action would be unnecessary. Most rational people, regardless of where they're from, would like to see whichever team is really the best at football winning the cup. What we'll probably get is whichever is best at ducking and diving, shirt pulling and bullying referees.

I saw the 1966 victory on TV. Every World Cup since has been marred in my view by cheats, on and off the field of play. Give it up. Get back to playing football. PS Get rid of that berk Motson

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  • 33.
  • At 09:01 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Richard Whiting wrote:

Simply put, the players and their coaches are atthe root of this fiasco. If the players played according to the rules, and the coaches showed them how to, then much of the red card/yellow card action would be unnecessary. Most rational people, regardless of where they're from, would like to see whichever team is really the best at football winning the cup. What we'll probably get is whichever is best at ducking and diving, shirt pulling and bullying referees.

I saw the 1966 victory on TV. Every World Cup since has been marred in my view by cheats, on and off the field of play. Give it up. Get back to playing football. PS Get rid of that berk Motson

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  • 34.
  • At 09:13 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Dk wrote:

here is my rating for direct or indirect
participants of Hollnad Vs. portugal match

Ivanov(ref): 100%
Players of both sides: 20%
Coachs: 20%
Supporters: 80%
Blatter: 0%

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  • 35.
  • At 09:30 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Jeffrey Slijkhuis wrote:

I think the reffery was kinda stupid, portugal made 2 mistakes within their goal area wich should have been an Penalty 2 times already... The Netherlands fought till every last bit of the match, the only stupid and LAME thing is that those portogese kept falling down and use as much time as possible to fill the match... i think Portugal should have been disqualified from the WC for this match...

Go Holland !!

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  • 36.
  • At 09:33 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

First of all, we all know that Blatter is an idiot, who destroys this sport by his stupid remarks and decisions. Nothing new there. I only hope they finally get rid off him soon. Regarding the game: No team should have won. What these two teams did in the second half was a disgrace for this sport. Dis-honerable mention goes to Luis Figo for his pathetic acting skills and brutal foul play. The referee for sure made some questionable calls, but all in all it were the players who couldn't handle the pressure and started this farce. They should disqualify Portugal and let Australia play instead. Their goalie showed on German TV what fair play is. Asked if the penalty kick really was justified, he just said that the referee only had seconds to decide and that's what he did. What a sportsman! I'm sad to see them go and have to watch the arrogant Figo again. Even so England played really bad (again), I want them to knock Portugal out, because they don't deserve to be there.

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  • 37.
  • At 09:42 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Adam Schogger wrote:

Conspiracy theorists - what a load of old tosh!
Q: since when have FIFA bent the rules in favour of England?
A: Never.

Last night was a difficult match to referee. It might have been an idea for him to stop the match for a few minutes and called over the two captains and managers and told them to calm the game down a bit. Once the game had gone out of control the ref (who actually is a human being) got caught up and did a couple of silly things like Deco's second yellow card.

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  • 38.
  • At 09:47 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Bob Mellor wrote:

I have played and followed football since I was a little kid. I watched this game from start to finish, and its clear from his remarks that Blatter was watching a different game.

How else can the referee deal with such behaviour - headbutting, pushing, elbowing, arguing. His only weapons are his red and yellow cards. I can't see how the ref could have dealth with this match any other way.

Its no surprise that referees feel as though they are not supported, and it makes for indecision on the field - they have to KNOW that their decisions are going to be supported by their managers. ESPECIALLY when they are CORRECTLY using their cards, as this referee was.

My thoughts on the game was that it was a terrible advertisement for world soccer, but I did not once feel the referee was over-zealous.

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  • 39.
  • At 10:04 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Tracey wrote:

The conspiracy theory's are mildly amusing...

All of the boys/men in last nights game do not deserve to wear a country shirt - they behaved abismally and deserved everything the ref gave them and more. I have to say the actual football quality was so bad i was more interested in the fighting...the beatiful game? I dont think so.

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  • 40.
  • At 10:18 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Michael Shevlane wrote:

Hilarious conspiracy theories, guys, but full of holes, as most theories are. I have no doubt there is corruption in soccer - just look at what is going on in Italy. However, as for some major conspiracy to advance Germany and England, there are some vital flaws in your blueprint:

1) - When Germany were already 2-0 up and cruising, why would FIFA want to draw attention to their conspiracy by sending a Swede off, when Germany woudl probably win anyway? Shouldn't they save the red card for a time of greater need?

2) - If they favor England so much, why did they give them the 'Group of Death' in 2002?

3) - If they favor England so much, why did they send Beckham off in 1998, and disallow Sol Campbell's goal against Argentina?

4) - If they want to rig an England win, surely they should pick a year where they have a good team and a non-retarded manager, thereby making it more realistic?

Now, i think Korea got major calls against both Italy and Spain in 2002, and that was shady, though it also could have been simply 'home advantage' - the ref being influenced by the home team. Either way, look at other teams that have had favorable calls so far:

Argentina: escaped sending off verses Mexico

Italy: late non penalty against Australia

Why conspire to have all the best teams advance? Why not just let them advance because they are the best teams?

Believe me, this England team is so awful that even a Hollywood producer could not make them winning the World Cup seem realistic. The only way they will win is if they step up a gear.

Oh...and sack Sven before they play Portugal.

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  • 41.
  • At 10:35 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • kapon wrote:

Tell me, whats happening??
Poll show 3 cards for one player..silence
Merk make fake penalty - silence..

today Cantaleho - fake penalty and Italy in 1/4 - silence

In first Ukrainian game also fake penalty - silence

yesterday Ivanov work on very hard game. First really hard game on championship with two crazy teams - and we had comments of Blatter, of Brazil team coach.. all press all over the world cry!

Sure, if you work on game like England - Ecuador..you cant make mistakes..

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  • 42.
  • At 10:38 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Gareth & Stephan: So you guys predict that Germany and England will be profitng from unfair decisions and go on to the final. Okay, lets see wether you are right. But if you are not - pleas drop the theory and don't revive it for the next cup.

It is very easy to look at 64 matches afterwards and pick out the decisions that back up your claim (ANY claim). But if you want to convince anybody with some sense you have to make correct predictions. So lets look at the next England and Germany matches for a first test ;-).

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  • 43.
  • At 10:42 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Football Drama wrote:

Tough game. Great heart from the players. With 11 men on the pitch Portugal was the best.

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  • 44.
  • At 10:46 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • zargorn wrote:

Oh, and by the way ... if somebody payed to influence this match he payed the players much more then the ref. The first one that went out was Ronaldo and that was not because of a card. The match started out to be the mud fight it became. The only blame on the referee is that he could not prevent it.

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  • 45.
  • At 11:05 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

What conspiracy theory comes next? The German beer industry is behind it! They want Germany to face England in the final. This way the English fans will hang around longer in Germany, increasing their sales... :-D

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  • 46.
  • At 11:28 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

This World Cup does not look right.
It has all elements to show us that there is some sort of involvment of FIFA to manipulate the outcome of the matches.
Look what ref did in Portugal vs Holland game. This is just too crazy by booking both sides left and right.
The question is who benefits from that?
Who is Portugal going to play next?
You have the answer infront of you.

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  • 47.
  • At 12:01 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • lex baars wrote:

conspiracy, no

incompetence by ref and fifa, yes

holand robbed, maybe

But the dutch were never going to go all the way in this competition. It takes real team quality and maturity to win in a competition like this.
A team like the oranje of 1974 with Cruyff and Co. would have shown a different face during the game than was shown by this young dutch side.

Maybe in another four years we'll see a more mature holland than was showcased here.

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  • 48.
  • At 12:08 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Freeboy1881 wrote:

The way the refs are handling the cards is ruining the game overall.. some players are being booked for trying to "touching" another player while jumping for a ball ... in some matches it looked like a basketball game ... especially Hol Vs Por game ... the players rarely played any football ,,, and thats what the port. players were working on...

its the refs mistake not to handle the game from the begining by calling the players and talking to them ..

the more he did what he did the more furious the players became ...

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  • 49.
  • At 01:12 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Pavel wrote:

It seems most of the discusson participants agree that Ivanov did his job by the book. My personal take on it - the players followed an "unwritten rule" that the number of yellow and red cards has some cap and after that cap is reached, no more cards are shown. This time the ref just did not cap it and strictly followed the written rules and FIFA guidance. Well, may be it was a bit naive on his part, but I think Ivanov deserves a lot of respect for his courage to do things as instructed and not trying to play politics with keeping both teams and FIFA happy. The thing is that Football should be a gentlemen game. Say - there is not any written rule for players to kick the ball out of the field when somebody needs medical attention, but they do it. This is just another "uwritten rule"... Funny enough, the only teams who I thought showed "fair play" on this Championship so far were African ones. Well, that might be one of the reasons for their early departure!

The Ned-Por game did remind an NHL hockey games with linesmen running out to the field to separate arguing players!!! I do not know who was worse Dutch or Portugese as regards cheating, but Portugese did seem to be more comfortable in playing under such conditions and they did pull out a victory having one player less for most of the game! Victory well deserved.

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  • 50.
  • At 01:18 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Tiago wrote:

To my understanding, you english people who say that portugal don't deserve to be in the quarter-finals, are just trembling of fear. As it is normal since you have memory. Tho european cup defeats and in champions league. I mean Portugal was naturally punished with the red cards and with the Ronaldo injury. What more do you want to? To have a free ticket to the semi-finals? Come on, admit it. You are afraid even if Portugal will play without 3 of his best players, you are playing so bad that you need to put on a newspaper cover that Figo should be punished. All that reveals something. In saturday we will see what happens.

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  • 51.
  • At 01:37 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Jorge Reis wrote:

The Nuremberg battle had just one responsable..Marco Van Basten!!
and now England prepare to cry again...

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  • 52.
  • At 01:41 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Svache wrote:

I'm Dutch and after reading these comments, I thought let's throw a few of my own views in here.

Of course I wanted to see my country win the game against Portugal but I have to say, I didn't even expected them to enter the this round (so they are already above my expectations lol). My personal view on the Dutch team? I think they lacked a lot of good playing last night and I can only say that they have only themselves to thank about their poor results last night, they missed a lot of good chances and I think they can do better than that. We lost the game and I don’t even think that when we would’ve been given the exact extra time in which the game was ‘death’ (a total of 17.5 minutes), that we could’ve win it.

About the game itself, I think the Dutch simply did a few things in the beginning which they shouldn’t have done, I mean the things with both van Bommel and Boulahrouz (and yes, he should have been given red there, it was a very nasty thing what he did), when they committed those faults, they simply declared war to Portugal, which wasn’t wise in the end. It resulted in an aggressive game from both sides, well, as far as you can speak of a ‘game’. Still, I don’t think it is fair to blame all the players of Portugal and/or the Netherlands.. I think that when the ref wouldn’t have used his whistle and cards that much, it would’ve been a much nicer game and, most likely, less aggressive as well. Just imagine those players, it’s all or nothing for them and when they see yellow and red cards all the time, for things that a lot of other refs wouldn’t give a card, it’s a bit imaginable that the players just went berserk. Personally I think the ref could’ve done without half of the cards… yes, the Boulahrouz thing was simply worth red.. the punch with the head against the Dutch was also worth a card and so on, but there were also situations in which it would’ve been better to give no card at all… I honestly think that, when this much cards are issued to the players, the players will also play a bit on it.. I mean, they will easier fall down and try to give the opponent a card. I think the ref lost some control of the game by doing this.

Also, when I look at Ivanov’s statistics, I don’t think it is all that weird that he issued this much cards… when I’m only looking towards this tournament, he has issued 33 yellow cards here and when looking towards the Champions league there is a total of 64 yellow cards in the in the games that he was a ref. I agree with you guys when you say that the rules aren’t there for nothing and that when something happens, that the ref should try to find a solution and so on but I do think that this referee is a bit trigger happy, especially compared with most of the other referees in this tournament. I wonder if he will be a ref in a future match in this tournament and what the outcome will be of that game, I hope it will have less cards and more playing.

One last word about the WC this year, I think the whole tournament is a bit weird. Just look at the match between France and Switzerland, Ivanov was also a ref there and he handed out 8 yellow cards.. ok, it's half the number of what was handed out between POR and NLD, but still, it's a lot of cards. And then that other ref, handing out 3 (!!!) yellow cards to one single person before he sends him off the field?? Isn't that a bit weird as well? Or the match between Italy and Australia today, the ref gave a penalty in the last seconds of the match for something which was, in my personal view, not worth a penalty at all. I do think that the ref could've made a better decision there and there are a few more examples like that in this tournament, some ref’s are simply lacking quality and I think that’s a bit of a shame.

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  • 53.
  • At 03:41 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Zoe wrote:

I think the refereeing was actually pretty good. He may have gotten a few calls wrong and been fooled by the players' dives, but all refs make some bad calls (look at Poll). However, I don't think he lost control of the game. The players set the tone from the first minute, by diving and going for the man instead of the ball, and the referee had to deal with them. The only thing he could have done better was maybe to call off the game. Yellow cards don't have any effect on changing the players' behaviour, the ref has no choce but to send them off. Besides, Fifa are meant to be cracking down on dives, shirt-tugging, and players' attitude towards the ref. How are the referees supposed to do this without the bookings?

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  • 54.
  • At 05:21 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • concerned_soccer_fan wrote:

Let's be realistic. Every World Cup is governed by the sponsors. Fifa runs a business and just like any other business the main and most important objective is to bring in money. That's where the sponsors come in. Take the Brazilian team for example. Are they a good team and do they always have a competitive team; I say YES, but do you really think they could of won so many world cups over the years? The odds are against it. This year you see the Brazilian team has commercials all over the air waves. You also see Beckham and company from England, Ballack and company from Germany, and as always the Italians just like the Brazilians get a free pass when needed as long as it's not against putting out a team such as Korea in the last world cup due to ticket sales. If you look at how the group were composed you will see that it is set up so that Brazil and Germany don't meet til the finals. SO I GIVE MY THUMBS UP TO TEAMS LIKE PORTUGAL, SPAIN, UKRAINE ETC... THAT ARE STILL IN IT EVEN THOUGH FIFA COULD CARE LESS, they have little if any sponsors or commercials for their players.
As far as the Holland and Portugal game is concerned, it was clear that Holland had a game plan and that was to take out Ronaldo either by hurting or getting him fire up lossinf his temper and getting himself thrown off. What changed the game was the ref not giving a red card to Boulahrouz. According to the stats, Port.. have beaten the Dutch ever match for 17 years. Guess they did everything they could to not let it happen again but it backfired. FIFA's prediction is you will see Brazil-Germany-England-Italy in final four. I hope that the real best four ruin their plans. My prediction is Italy will be there because they play the Ukraine, "no disrespect ukraine", Argentina has a team to beat Germany but FIFA won't let it happen, I'm calling an upset in the Port-Eng game, after seeing the portugees put up such a fight against all odds with Holland I see them taking England even if the ref does favor english side. I think Spain has a better team and will beat France and can take out Brazil in an Upset but that won't happen either because Brazil Has to be in the Final four as well so I'm calling it: It will be Germany vs Italy and Brazil vs Portugal. Germany beats Italy in penalty shoot out. Brazil will beat portugal with a given penalty late in the game in overtime. Brazil doesn't do well with Port. so this may also be a surprise result. Germany will take it, heres the catch if FIFA gets it their way and England does get by Portugal. than England wins it all.

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  • 55.
  • At 06:02 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Bill wrote:

POR vs NED was a very rude game. What can the ref do to deal with the foul. Only a foul, verbal warning, caution or send off. Unfortunely those weapons couldn't let player's calm down and play clean. I don't know how the ref can do to manage the game when all go wild.

The ref blamed for the tight punishment on time wasting, pulling shirt. If he didn't do so, would he be punished by fifa?

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  • 56.
  • At 08:06 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • rom wrote:

I think FIFA is a farce, they pressurise refs to dish out cards for any misdemenour however trivial. The result is that farcical matches like Port-Ned happen and then Blatter has the cheek to say that the ref should have a yellow card.

Personally I feel cheated every time a player is suspended or red carded, possibly never to be seen again at the tournament. At the 1/4 finals will miss Deco and Materazzi who in my opinion did nothing nasty and should be gracing the fields with their skills.

Maybe its time to get rid of Blatter and his entourage and let people who know football decide how its run, maybe Beckenbauer and let some bean counter take care of the businees side.

PS I'm an Italian supporter and unhappy at yesterday's match. It was a great end to end game until the stupid ref sent off Materazzi for a challenge that at most deserved a yellow card. That changed the tone of the game and from then on Italy was obliged to play the way it did. It was hollow justice in the end, no team likes to win like that and I believe that Italy would have won it without the penalty even though Australia had more possession, Italy was far more incisive and dangerous going forward and sooner or later would have scored.

PSS I think Fabio Cannavaro is the world's greatest player, unlike some of the so called "stars" out there he never has an off-day and hardly ever makes mistakes. Yesterday he was immense in defence and Viduka was probably the most frustrated man on the field.

PSSS I think the Ozzies deserve a lot of credit for their football, their tenacity and their never give up attitude, they have arrived on the international footballing scene!

Go Azzurri!

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  • 57.
  • At 08:34 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Germany and specially England is being helped to go far in this WC.
Russian ref helped in 1966 and again another Russian ref helped in 2006.
What a coincidence no?

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It was complete madness, he should have booked so many many players so early for such little offences.

He should have pulled the captains over and told them to sort their teams out rather then angering the situation by stop-starting it with free-kicks and cautions, and that doesn't even go into the fact that the vast majority of the cards were unwarranted.

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  • 59.
  • At 10:10 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Shreyas wrote:

I just have one thing to say. This world cup has been ruined by so many red and yellow cards. Teams ve become too defensive cuz of the early sending off's. And the blame lies on both the players and the ref's to an extent. I ve never remembered seeing so many cards in european football or for that matter in the little bit of brazilian football i have seen. And the ref's from variuos countries make it worse. All havin their own way of managing. Its like the spanish and Italians ve no probs in diving but the english do. I surely have seen more interesting matches with slightly less policing on the ref's side.

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  • 60.
  • At 10:21 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

Its good to see that so many people support the ref. I think the real farce in modern football is that every single manager and player blame the ref when they loose. Think about Mourinho! And the media often scandalizes it all to make it look even worse.

Having said that I do think some of the refereeing has been pretty bad. Some brutal tackles are not punished hard enough while Ive seen many very weak challenges receiving a yellow card. And the problem with the russian ref was not the cards but the lack of authority. Remember Colina? He had a real "dont fuck around" attitude.

The refs have to be much harder on diving. Fouls and cards given when players are cheating only contributes to the frustration and anger. Give a yellow to an "actor" clutching his face early in the game, and maybe theyll stop trying.

I also think FIFA should be more willing to punish foul play after the match. Or remove cards that were incorrect. They should look at every single cheat, even small, and give punishment. Its amazing however, that players dont seem to care to much about consequences of cards. Everybody knew that FIFA would be strict in this tournament and yet they all act surprised when the refs actually are.

I hope Brazil wins it. They care more about the quality of their own team, and not about how "bad" the refs and the other teams are.

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  • 61.
  • At 10:41 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Gabriela wrote:

I absolutely agree that the referee was doing what he needed to do. There has been so much cheating in football in recent years in all leagues and international competitions and it has just escalated and escalated. The only way to put an end to it is to make strict rules and have consequences that players will respect. And this is what was going on in the Holland v Portugal game (for the most part). The players were cheating not the ref.

Pardon the analogy but there WAS a similar problem in North American ice hockey recently and the governing body made a decision to stamp out all cheating, malicious play and especially diving. There are serious consequences like full season suspensions and the game has been cleaned up and brought back to who's best at their sport NOT who's best at fooling the referee.

I think the lack of tolerance for cheating and player's antics at this Wolrd Cup as a whole has been a step in the right direction. Players nowadays are like petulant children having temper tantrums. Diving and kicking each other in the shins like 6 year olds. I applaud the refereeing even if the consequences to some of the play means changing the match to 10 v 11 or even 9 v 9 as in Italy Usa. It's not the ref changing the game. It's the players.

If it takes one World Cup of drama and dire consequences to have players realise they cannnot play the way they have come to play then I can live with that. Besides it's still been VERY entertaining football. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire Holland Portugal game. :o)

Gabriela

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  • 62.
  • At 10:55 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Jo Czerpak wrote:

If the first yellow card counted for more during the game then surely players weould be more reluctant to abscond. For example, a 10 minute sin bin rule would open up the game and be more of a deterrant. Also, perhaps individual acts that cause Yellow and Red cards should hold greater severity of punishment. A lengthy ban would not be welcomed by employers with shareholders to please.

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  • 63.
  • At 11:16 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • fiseha wrote:

Ggenerally the officials in this tornament are not doing what is supposed to be done,like interprating the rules properly and instead they are spoiling the good feeling viewrs have for worldcup. fifa has got a lot of job in correcting this faults that has been doing so far by the officials and obviously will be keeping on happening untill this tornament is wrapped up.

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  • 64.
  • At 11:18 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Aidy 'BuZZarD' Burrow wrote:

Scandalous! Nothing more.
Prematch build up suggested it was going to be the game of the tounament so far, instead it degenerated into a childish, big brother style playground scrap!

Who was to blame? The players? FIFA? The Referee?
Aren't they all 'professionals' in their field? Did anyone see any professional behaviour in that game, other than maybe some of the fouls?

In an earlier post:
"If a player perceives that the referee won't give cards, there will be more fouls"
Show me evidence so far in this world cup that can substantiate that claim.

Too many cards are ruining this world cup, the games aren't even once a player is sent off. Ok, some sendings off are necessary, but many of them are for clumsy, not malicous or cynical fouls,nor dangerous fouls.

Yet the srious incedents are going unchecked.
Gerrard gets booked against paraguay, yet the replay clearly shows a dive and that there was nowhere near any contact.

Italy go through on a penalty, a blatant dive.

USA lose two players against italy, a couple of badly timed tackles that were never going to hurt an opponent.

If the referees cannot keep up with the pace of the game, then bring in the fourth official and video replays.
FIFA should take action against divers post match if necessary, as this is one aspect of the game thats destroying it.
WE wait 4 years for the greatest tournament on the planet and this is wwhat we get?

Maybe this is what happens when huge amounts of money is involved, I should think most of us have seen this coming for some time.

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  • 65.
  • At 11:58 AM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Rob Netten wrote:

One will always wondered what would have happened if Mr. Ivanov indeed had applied the new guidelines. The first yellow cards for both Costinha and Bouhlarouz should have been direct reds.

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  • 66.
  • At 12:01 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • MartinStilwell wrote:

Both Portugal and Holland were a disgrace the other night. Bad tackles are one thing but clutching your face and rolling around on the floor every time someone comes near you is unacceptable.

Have neither set of players got any integrity? Its just CHEATING.

Also - diving when no one has tackled you is widely condemmed by pundits, fans and players but it seems that diving when you have been tackled/fouled is OK. No it isn't. That is CHEATING as well.

All teams in the World Cup are guilty of this - England too. Its just not cricket.

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  • 67.
  • At 12:04 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • woll wrote:

So that was a 'battle' between 'men' on Sunday was it? What I saw were at least 20 squabbling spoilt little brats who deserved nothing more than having their ball taking away and being sent to bed without their bedtime story!!!

In a grown up world, men should be man enough to take a physical challenge and stay on their feet more readily. Mr Robben and Mr Kuyt take note!!! What the Dutch in particular, and every other team England included, should strive for; is to stamp out the out and out cheating that goes on before they, and no-one else kills this game off for good. It is time for the media, the team-mates, and their coaches to audibly condemn not condone.

I don't blame the ref on this occasion because the players were from the first horrendous challenge on Ronaldo, guilty. His only real fault was not being able to bring this mess to a conclusion before full time, which would have seen both teams packing, and out of the competition!!!

And yet perversely it does seem so easy to pick up a yellow these days. Things seem now to have gone too far in favour of the player on the ball. No wonder the merest sniff a tackle tests the laws of gravity so easily! Once upon a time there were calls to give the playmakers more protection. This was needed and I applaud the initial moves to rectify this. But it now seems to me this has been taken beyond a level of commonsense.

Modern football players really could take a leaf out rugby's book. Introduce the Sin Bin, moving a free kick further forward for any verbal to the ref, and coming to terms with the fact that in that game players tend to fall over for a reason! The way some behave these days it's almost worth handing some past players a pair of boots, say Bonds/Harris/Hunter, and giving them carte blanche!! ;o)

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  • 68.
  • At 12:06 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

The reason why many posters from England support this corrupted ref is becouse their team England benefited from this refs actions. Now I would like to see and know their opinion if it was their team England was done by like this by a ref and FIFA. I don't this their opinion will be supportive to the ref.

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  • 69.
  • At 12:40 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Driver wrote:

With regards to the conspiracy theorists and the doubts some of you have addressed to them: I don't think FIFA has deliberately programmed an England-Germany final. What they do absolutely want for commercial reasons is for the 'big' teams to go forward as far as possible. Four years ago South-Korea was a 'big' team because the agenda of FIFA was to make the sport more popular in that region. The way the South-Koreans went through against Italy, and especially against Spain was scandalous. Four years ago as well a perfect legitimate goal of Belgium was disallowed against Brasil, who needed to get to the final to keep the viewing ratings as high as possible. This time around you see the same stuff again: Brasil needs to go as far as possible in the tournament (watch what the referee did during the Brasil-Australia match and you will see what I mean), Germany as well (although they did not need the help of the referee up to now). Other countries with commercial importance are England (there is a reason why Beckham needs to stay in the team, it's the same reason why Ronaldo stays in and why Zidane stays in) and Italy of course. The Germany-Argentina game will be the big test: if the referee in some small way starts interfering, you will know why.

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  • 70.
  • At 12:41 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Chris Bryan wrote:

All this conspiricy theory stuff if entertaining rubbish. Clearly a mixture of sour grapes and wild imaginations. Unless of course FIFA managed to fix it so Joe Cole would score that wonder goal against Sweden to Ensure that we'd go in as group leaders to face Equador rather than Germany.

Hang on, if you were running a conspiracy to ensure Germany and England went as far as possible in a competition would you not set them up so they couldn't meet in the first knock-out round?

Considering the narrow nature of englands wins and the fact that in all reality games at best can be influenced but never fully fixed I think this conspiracy stuff if the biggest pile of doggie poo I have ever read.

Good try though, go back to your devinci code and illuminati theories and think again.

David Beckhams goal was clearly part of the conspiracy to keep him in the England team! ;)

I think some of the ref's have been given the harsh guidlines from FIFA and decided "right, if thats what they want, thats what they'll get... but people won't like it."

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  • 71.
  • At 12:45 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • woll wrote:

Mr Blunt.

I can't speak for others of course, but if an Engand team behaved as poorly as that, I'd be whistling and jeering as loud as any opposition fans were. Oneupmanship and to a lesser degree gamesmanship is one thing, but cheating and rolling around the floor as if they'd taken a right hook from a heavy weight boxer is another. Time for these babies to gtfu!!!

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  • 72.
  • At 12:53 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Bob Hail wrote:

Once again this screams the need for video replay and stop start timing. A ref cannot be everywhere all at once wheras the Armchair Generals can see every incident in slow motion from seven different angles and feel superior in every way.

Video replays would make the divers and showboaters think twice!

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  • 73.
  • At 12:55 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • DaveH wrote:

Woll in post 68 makes some very good points - as do several other posters. I think that referees could definitely take a leaf out of the rugby refs book and talk to the palyers more. If, instead of just punishing the tackle on Ronaldo with a yellow card, the ref had brought the 2 captains togther and warned them that any further conduct of that nature would result in a straight red, maybe things would have calmed down - maybe they wouldn't as well, but it would have been worth a try!
I love the conspiracy theories! I reckon that Stephan is lining up a best seller to compete with the Da Vinci Code!
The Portugal match will be interesting. May the best team win, and may they win fairly!

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  • 74.
  • At 01:03 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Miguel Cro wrote:

I am a portuguese supporter, and i admit that Portugal played dirty, but not as dirty as Holland- they started right from the beginning, byt trying to get Ronaldo out. In all, I think Portugal played better that holland and deserved to win the match. The ref was being a bit silly, and some of those bookings were wrong.

It's all a game my people- lets not get wound up!

If you are only criticising because it is Portugal you are playing next, then bring it on! Let the football on Saturday speak for itself.
You know deep down that England aren't playing well in this world cup and that Portugal have more of a chance of winning come Saturday. Even with two of our players sent off, we have a better chance of winning than England do.

Forca Portugal!

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  • 75.
  • At 01:05 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Aidan Sergent wrote:

The way this World Cup is going, and the stick Sepp Blatter is dishing out to the refs, FIFA will have none left of hogh enough standard by the semi final stage.
What price Collina to be brought back out of retirement?

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  • 76.
  • At 01:07 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

Stephan, do you have any thoughts on the Moon landings or JFK?

Aidy - I umpire (field) hockey matches. I guarantee that any match official from any sport will agree that if you do not punish foul play to the appropriate level then players will take matters into their own hands - leading to anarchy.

Once you have lose control you rarely get it back. Calling the captains over merely indicates to everyone that you don't have confidence that you can control the game. not a good message to give....

Match officals can't make a bad game good, but you can ruin a good game. Portugal v Holland wasn't a good game (unless you delight in carnage ;-)

It is such a shame that a match official who upheld the law is criticised by the head of the organisation (FIFA) who tell him to uphold those same laws.

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  • 77.
  • At 01:09 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

All comments about the referee making bad decisions are ridiculous. I am appalled that Blatter is not supporting his officials. Occasionally referees do make mistakes and it is usually caused by players cheating either by committing a foul or diving.

If referees decisions are so vital why do FIFA and other governing bodies refuse to use another official with the ability to review video footage to assist the referee? It still is not absolutely perfect but it does work quite well in rugby union.

Some complain that it would disrupt flow of the game but I feel no more than the cynical fouls that we continually see to stop teams making a breaking attack. Argentina were a prime example against Mexico, I counted at least five occasions were a minor trip brought a pause on proceedings allowing Argentina to get all their players into a defensive formation. No cards were issued.

I certainly think that citing with disciplinary committees should be used similar to that in rugby to review and assess fouls that have been missed but also review appeals for incidents where mistakes have been made.

Players need to take a long hard look at themselves, the sport is meant to be played by gentlemen. Many players are look upon as heroes by young children and adults alike. They should remember this and consider the examples that they set to others.

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  • 78.
  • At 01:23 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • spoz wrote:

I think the referees have got it right and that its the players and Fifa that are to blame. Take Figo as a case in point. A blatant headbutt, completely unforgiveable and he gets a card, albeit yellow from a ref who didnt see it. Fifa then review the tapes and then let Figo off. This sets the tone even further for the tournament in that players can pretty much do what they want and get away with it if there is enough pressure through appeal to Fifa.
Fifa should have made the card a red and banned him.
In a tournament tarnished by player antics of diving, acting, falling over and generally being unsportsmanlike the only way to clamp down is through referees punishing players.
If referees are under orders to punish players and Fifa then reject those referees decisions then who is at fault?
Players at the outset and then Fifa for not backing up their ref's.

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  • 79.
  • At 01:25 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • David Knight wrote:

I know of no other professional sport where the players have so little respect for the officials. So often you find a gang of players surrounding a ref complaining about some yellow card, which these days seems to be more often than not awarded for a deliberate foul. It's not in the interest of the ref to award cards, but there is obvious advantage to players if they can get penalties from diving.

I say refs are doing a tough job under tough conditions. Shame on all players who exploit this.

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  • 80.
  • At 01:28 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

All comments about the referee making bad decisions are ridiculous. I am appalled that Blatter is not supporting his officials. Occasionally referees do make mistakes and it is usually caused by players cheating either by committing a foul or diving.

If referees decisions are so vital why do FIFA and other governing bodies refuse to use another official with the ability to review video footage to assist the referee? It still is not absolutely perfect but it does work quite well in rugby union.

Some complain that it would disrupt flow of the game but I feel no more than the cynical fouls that we continually see to stop teams making a breaking attack. Argentina were a prime example against Mexico, I counted at least five occasions were a minor trip brought a pause on proceedings allowing Argentina to get all their players into a defensive formation. No cards were issued.

I certainly think that citing with disciplinary committees should be used similar to that in rugby to review and assess fouls that have been missed but also review appeals for incidents where mistakes have been made.

Players need to take a long hard look at themselves, the sport is meant to be played by gentlemen. Many players are look upon as heroes by young children and adults alike. They should remember this and consider the examples that they set to others.

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  • 81.
  • At 01:39 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Gee wrote:

Where to start? First of all, well done Ref! If this man suffers any consequences as a result of his performance in this match, it is the last time I buy a ticket to watch a football match. More importantly, it will set the tone for FIFA's plans for the future of the sport, since it will be clear to all but the brain dead, that FIFA is voting for a continuation of the cheating and provocation that the so-called spectacle of modern football has become. Sadly, the only place to lay the blame for the sorry spectacle of the match between Holland and Portugal is at the feet of the players themselves, and the managers who allow (and even encourage) them to behave in this disgraceful, unprofessional way.

Herr Blatter? In my opinion, he should be sacked on the spot. Once again, he chose to publically undermine his own body's clear pre-tournament guidelines to crack down on cheating and time wasting. On the other hand, he is a politician, so perhaps we should not be surprised either by his disgusting hypocrisy or his apparent eagerness to find a scapegoat that deflects the criticism away from him and his suited cohorts.

And twaddle from ex-players parading as experts should be banned from the airwaves; it is as hypocrtical as it is unhelpful. I, for one, have never understood why the media feels the need to pander to the opinions of people who have as little of any consequence to say as they have ability to express it. They are, by definition, biased.

The "spectacle" of the match between Holland and Portugal was as disgraceful as it was pathetic, and I sincerely hope it does not go unpunished in the fervour of the build up to the final. Like the adolescent children of indulgant parents, the players who performed in this shameful spectacle showed how players in general have obviously been allowed to get away with too much for too long. In this match, the players' behaviour appeared to be a puerile reaction to the fact that, finally, a referee was obviously unwilling to play along with the cheating and provocation that so often goes unnoticed or unpunished in the national leagues.

I am neither Dutch nor Portuguese, so I had no favourite, and I sat down hoping to watch a feast of attacking football. Instead, I was treated to disgraceful scenes of elbows and kung-fu kicks and more diving than you would expect to see in a public swimming pool, most notably (for all the racist comments in the media about Latin temperament) from the likes of Robben, Van Persie, and Van Bommel.

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  • 82.
  • At 01:42 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Hovic wrote:

Better if this kind of ref to have at the final game, so that no side will win like Italy won.
Number of cards is not indication to the bad refering, players are themselves are to be blamed.

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  • 83.
  • At 01:42 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Bruno Rua wrote:

the game praticly starts with a violent mov against CRISTIANO RONALDO and the russian referee don't show the red card!

everyone saw that Neetherlands didn't have fair play
at the time they should pass the ball to portugal's squad, the dutch coath or the players told their team-mates to mov on with the ball!!!

but we must see that the judge was more nervous than neetherlands or anyone else...
it was the ref that starts the mess that the game ended

4 red cards
16 yellow cards
9 players eatch side

we never saw such game in world cup history

the president of FIFA said that the referee should get a yellow card for his role during the game
i say that he should get red card imediatly!

than the neetherland's coach says that he came to play football... well i ask: why the hell did neetherland' squad make so many scens?=?

the inteir world should recognise the PORTUGAL's victory completly fair, i would say.

### now about england...

how ridiculous was the idea of england ask fifa to figo not to play?=?

how stupid, coward, nervous is england to ask such thing?=?

the game haven't start yet and england is already affraid of portugal?=?

i can't untherstand that...

cam'on england shame on u!
behave your self
behave like a team who has a good reputation

ok
let us breed

i'm sure that the game with england will be much better than that one against neetherlands

england will be more nervous than portugal, u'll see, but i know england won't do violent movs like neetherland did to Cristiano Ronaldo (just 1 ex.)

i hav good perspectives to send england back to london

PORTUGAL 2
ENGLAND 1

fair result
i'd say

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  • 84.
  • At 01:49 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • brej wrote:

Sanghera,

stupid face, stupid story. Yuk!

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  • 85.
  • At 02:07 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Italy vs Australia match was fixed too.
Just like Holland vs Portugal.
You want us to believe that there is no corruption and match fixing in World Cup?
How is it possible that very very POOR English National team once again scape's playing any normal decent team? Becouse in QF they are going to meet Portugal with half of it's force
Take your bedtime lullaby stories somewhere else.
The game was corrupted from the start

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  • 86.
  • At 02:18 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Baz wrote:

These are some of the best conspiracy theories I've read since the 9/11 attacks.

It's fishy that Brazil have won the cup so many times? Looking at a nation that has produced the likes of Pele, Ronaldinho and many others besides, I can't see why.

England get an unfair advantage? Urs Meier 2004, anyone?

This 'Russian Referee' theory is brilliant too. On that same level of reasoning ("Oooh, look, it happened twice!") we could argue that there's a conspiracy to put England out in the quarter-finals. Or that there's a conspiracy to prevent Spain winning the cup (11 finals, never passed the quarters? Very fishy!). One could even argue that there's a conspiracy to ensure Australia qualify - after all, that's happened twice too!

The referee did his job in a match that I don't think any ref would willingly take, with hindsight. There's no conspiracy and no grand plan to set up particular results - just pathetic attitudes on the part of certain players.

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  • 87.
  • At 02:20 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Post 85 Dom

It seems to me the "anglo-germanic" people (english,germans, netherlanders, etc) always complain about lack of fair play and diving and cheating from the "latin" people (portuguese, spanish, italians, argies and brazilians). But it seems to me the "germanics" cheat and act and dive etc as much as the "latins" and they moan more then anyone else.

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  • 88.
  • At 02:31 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Miguel Cro wrote:

FOR DOM:

How dare you say that it is in our culture to cheat. Was it not the english who cheated their way into hundreds of countries just so they could get their hands on something they didn't have already and are still doing it today?

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  • 89.
  • At 02:36 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

Hey dom Post number 85

It seems to me the "germanic" people (english,germans, netherlanders, etc) always complain about lack of fair play and diving and cheating from the "latin" people (portuguese, spanish, italians, argies and brazilians). But it seems to me the "germanics" cheat and act and dive etc as much as the "latins" and they moan more then anyone else.

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  • 90.
  • At 02:43 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Pam wrote:

All these conspiracy theories make for highly amusing reading!

Who would be a referee - trying to keep FIFA, the players and the fans happy?!

As for the players: 10 minutes in a 'sin' bin would cool tempers, and for those who want an Oscar - forget the football and become an actor!

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  • 91.
  • At 02:47 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • spoz wrote:

Conspiracy?? what utter nonesense and for 2 rock solid reasons,

1. FIFA daily prove that they are unable to run a **** up in a brewery so a competition wide rigging exercise is unthinkable and
2. the team weakening issue of cards may have had a shred of credibility if it was not that during the Holland Portugal game it was the players who - thigh high tackled, deliberately handballed, head-butted, sythed down an opponent because he was upset at the drop-ball, time-wasted ceaselessly - need I say more

Yes reffing consistancy has to be improved, no we should n't seek to make football a non-contact sport but as ever it is the players who play the game and the games who direct them - NOT FIFA or the Referee's

The players could have stopped Sunday's game becoming a farce but they didn't, the managers could have addressed them at half-time but they didn't. They got what they deserved and the only disappointment is that it appears FIFA is unwilling to punish the 2 teams further for bringing the game into disrepute.

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  • 92.
  • At 02:58 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Simon K wrote:

It's ALL players faults - they are all guilty of cheating, feigning injury and diving.
The referees are left with no choice, FIFA tells them to apply the letter of the law, with little or no leeway to keep the game flowing and use their judgement on when a player just needs a warning instead of a card. However, how can they see every dive, how can they tell when a player is really hurt - we get the advantage of slow-mo replays and seeing it multiple times - the ref gets one look only and has to make an instant decision, mistakes are inevitable.

The only solution if things continue is to retrospectively review the game on video and give and rescind bookings, and punish cheaters with fines and suspensions.

The players union should rebuke its members for their on-field antics and FIFA should stop interfering and let refs get on with it.

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  • 93.
  • At 03:34 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • D wrote:

Dear Sir, Madam

I was disgusted by the referee's performance in the Portugal v Holland match. It is painfully clear to me that the referee was under strict FIFA instruction to issue as many yellow cards and red cards as possible. Why? Because England was still in the world cup after their 'skin of the teeth' win over Ecuador in which they showed the world just how rubbish they are.

I understand that FIFA want England to win but if they really want England to win so badly then just give them the cup and then let the rest of the teams play for runner up. Then at least, we, the football fan can enjoy what should be a great football competition. However because of FIFA interference and their attempt to elevate such a crap team as England, the other teams and fans have to suffer.

You know it, I know it and soon ever other fan will come to realise this too.

Yours faithfully

A Disgusted Fan

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  • 94.
  • At 03:35 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • D wrote:

Dear Sir, Madam

I was disgusted by the referee's performance in the Portugal v Holland match. It is painfully clear to me that the referee was under strict FIFA instruction to issue as many yellow cards and red cards as possible. Why? Because England was still in the world cup after their 'skin of the teeth' win over Ecuador in which they showed the world just how rubbish they are.

I understand that FIFA want England to win but if they really want England to win so badly then just give them the cup and then let the rest of the teams play for runner up. Then at least, we, the football fan can enjoy what should be a great football competition. However because of FIFA interference and their attempt to elevate such a crap team as England, the other teams and fans have to suffer.

You know it, I know it and soon ever other fan will come to realise this too.

Yours faithfully

A Disgusted Fan

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  • 95.
  • At 03:47 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • PL wrote:

It's a real mix, ref fault, by not giving the early shower to the ...rouz guy that hit Ronaldo (he was probably trying to do what UNCLE V.Basten told him to do, like do him what they did to me in the past), and the bad behaviour of the orange ones (Not thing land, oh sorry my mistake, Netherlands, bad tempered, and no loosing sportsmanship what so ever!) with nervous Portuguese. Some teams just don't know how to loose! Watch Italy very closely, because one of this days their Theatrical-Modeling-Mob Football will not win, and the Godfather OST wil start on the speakeres has they hit everyone against!

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  • 96.
  • At 03:59 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stephan Blunt wrote:

I read somewhere that TV commentator in England (ITV) was actually demanding that half the Port team be banned for the England game. Words cannot describe the sense of pain and despair these people cause to the average football supporter. Why can't they find these "fairplay" types a gig commenting on the curdling???? :-(

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  • 97.
  • At 04:08 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Valter wrote:

Hello.

First of all, congrats Portugal.

It was a very exciting game. Theres just ONE thing that's really shameful.. LACK OF FAIR PLAY BY MR VAN BASTEN. I used to play football, and back in the times when I wanted to be a football player in the future, I wanted to play like the "great" Van Basten. Now I look at his shameful attitude. It's a FAIR PLAY RULE: If I have the ball in my posession and the ref stops so injured players can get assisted, I SHOULD GET MY BALL BACK AFTERWARDS. Well, "fair play" isn't in Basten's dictionary, it seems. Heitinga was about to take the ball out(a fair play attitude), then Mr. Basten told him to carry on.. which lead to Deco's first yellow card... IS THAT NORMAL? Come on, that was the main reason for that "war" we've seen last saturday...

About the ref:

- He should had sent off that player (dont recall his name) who injured Ronaldo. He TOTALLY went for Cristiano's leg...

- Figo should have been sent off also, for that headbutt.

- Cocu should have been booked (yellow card) for pushing Deco into the ground(when he was sent off)

... among other minor issues. The ref seemed ok to me and I don't know why Blatter said those things about him.

I'm Portuguese, I've celebrated our win and I'm proud of my team. And don't say we don't deserve to be in 1/4, English people. Remember we played with -1 player for a preety long time.

Good job for Holland for putting up a good fight.

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  • 98.
  • At 04:17 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • George Clancy wrote:

Mr,Ivanov,should be giving the world cup Final for his excellent handling of the game between Portugal V Holland.Players are overated,overpaid and turning into scumbags on the pitch.

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  • 99.
  • At 04:32 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Stuart Meakings wrote:

I have been refereeing football games for the last 10 years starting with secondary school teams and progressing to the national division leagues. As such I feel it important to note that it is the referee who is ‘supposed’ to have TOTAL control over the game.

Through his decision making, verbal communication and attitude towards the players he can influence the type of game by influencing the temperament, emotion and approach of the players on the field.

Should FIFA choose a referee to take charge of matches in the WORLD CUP then any reasonable person would expect him to have the most basic skills in his arsenal.

The way the referee behaved in the Portugal v Holland match was abysmal and I can only surmise it was either because he was instructed or because he some how slipped through the rigorous selection process that would see only the best referees in the world cup.

However if it were the second supposition then it begs the question why his performance is not consistent in all other games. To me it seems as though there are just too many ‘ifs and buts’ and we continually peg it as ‘one of those things’.

My point being ...let’s be logical and let’s be honest with ourselves, let’s see the facts for what they are. The last world cup was just as bad if not worse. I still wince when I recall Italy v South Korea.

FIFA’s opinion of the average football fan can not be in the least flattering since they continue with the increasingly obvious ploy of influencing the outcome of these games.

These games are influenced and that is truly a shame for all those who wish to see great football which can never be achieved in any other tournament such as this where we see the best the whole world has to offer.

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  • 100.
  • At 06:00 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Baz wrote:

Nice to see the conspiracists are still up and at it!

And to Stuart Meakings, in response to your remark about the referee theoretically slipping through the 'rigorous selection process' - would this be the same process that allowed Graham Poll to go out there? I find it hard to believe he's England's #1 ref!

(My point being that if there is a process, it's heavily flawed)

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  • 101.
  • At 06:13 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • leelee wrote:

I can honestly say that so far most of the refereeing has been appalling, and to be honest, is spoiling what is a fantastic tournament.

Instead of teams/managers worrying about which opponents they will have, they have to worry about which ref they will have.... seems to be more important/influential on the teams performance.

I wont go as far to say that all refs in the tournament are bad and all decisions are wrong, but I will say that the feeling from most people Ive listened to is that most of them are.

Collina come back from retirement please.

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  • 102.
  • At 06:29 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Aaron wrote:

I think Mr. Blunt may have had to many items of his namesake.

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  • 103.
  • At 06:31 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • Aaron wrote:

I think Mr. Blunt may have had to many items of his namesake.

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  • 104.
  • At 07:54 PM on 27 Jun 2006,
  • woll wrote:

"Calling the captains over merely indicates to everyone that you don't have confidence that you can control the game. not a good message to give...."

Depends how he delivers the message....

You ought to watch Tony Spreadbury in action on a rugby field. Firm, fair and a sense of humour. No player of any nationality is ever left in any doubt who is in charge and who gets to benefit; namely he is, and they and the spectators collectively.....

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The logo of this world cup contains some smiling faces but these smiling faces were not reflected in the Portugal v Holland match; I am sorry, it should be called a battle where fighters of the both the side were in their aggressive mood and that can recall their past territorial history. The referee was totally failed to control the match and it is, for sure, not the way to show card almost everyone to take the control rather it indirectly inspires the players to become a fighter who are determined to save his country from the outsiders.

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  • 106.
  • At 06:05 AM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Ivan wrote:

First of all all of you Holland fans grow up. My God, I never seen a team so bent on using dirty tactics to win a game. From trying to take out key Portugal players to playing forward while an injured player is on the field.

Van Basten is three things in my opinions. An idiot for sitting his goal scorer. He is a scumbag for coaching dirty. He is a liar when he claims no fair play (oh wait you did have 1 man advantage twice).

Not that Portugal did not have their share of filthy tactics (Figo).

The only questionable calls were no red card on the dirty tackle on Ronaldo and the second yellow to Deco.

Everything else is 100% players.

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  • 107.
  • At 11:57 AM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Groink wrote:

I was watching the France-Spain game yesterday and saw as mutch diving and holding the ball as in that game. And the ref was sober enough not to abuse the card-showing. Blunt on post 6 had it: it seems plausible that the reason behind this was to give as many yellows as possible, since either team would face England next. Conspirason theory? maybe yes, but the ref spoiled the game, together with the coaches, and some players.

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  • 108.
  • At 01:39 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Maurice Harrison wrote:

I'm not sure which planet the conspiratory theorist are from. I prefer to call them constipation theorists because they are so full of .... you know what.
On a serious note, consistency and quality of refereeing is lacking. Italy get a penalty when their player deliberately falls over a defender already on the ground who had committed himself too early. In the same situation, Ronaldo got a yellow card for diving against Ghana. (The right decision.)
Offside decisions are appalling (see Brazil's second goal against Ghana) but Roanaldo was also penalised for offside in that game when he wasn't. I'm not sure linesmen inderstand the rule about players not interfering with play.
Football always used to be a contact sport and players got up immediately without injury from far worse (then legitimate) tackles. Perhaps training in keeping balance and riding tackles should be re-introduced; just watch Ronaldinho, who is a target for being "stopped", and see how few times he's on lying on the pitch clutching his leg.

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  • 109.
  • At 03:27 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • alex wrote:

I agree with the majority of comments that the referee performed extremely well given the circumstances. And he should be awarded a refereeing at the latest stages of the tournament (in the semifinals or final). As for Blatter's remarks, there is also a consensus of opinion that the guy is basically an a.. hole. But I want to look at the problem from a different angle. Once the football was a sport where only very limited body contacts were permitted. In contrast, the hockey was a contact sport with lot of charging, fighting, stick contacts, etc. And what we see in recent years? The hockey governing bodies try hard to clean up their sport by modifying the rules and limiting admissible players contacts. The aim is to favor the show so that players can exhibit their playing and not fighting skills. We have a very different example with the football. Nowadays it became a real dogfight with wrestling, pushing, pulling, shoving, kicking, tackling, diving, etc. All these things must be eradicated from football. Touching another player with hands must become a boockable offence. Pulling the shirt must be a straight red card. Only this way we can fight the epidemics of dirty play when the specific football skills of players become almost irrelevant for winning matches. Who is to blame for current situation? It's clear. All those people who are used to make billions on football, but don't want to change anything or spent a small bit of money to improve the things (by bringing in additional officials or modern technologies). Moreover, they are not even capable of introducing consistent rules to follow in all domestic and international competitions. We need a new generation of people in governing football bodies who are aware of challanges and are not affraid of changes in order to heal this wonderfull sport which is football.

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  • 110.
  • At 06:07 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Stuart Meakings wrote:

Alex,

Do you realise that FIFA have been approached many times regarding the introduction of modern technologies as DECISIVE aids to the referee? However FIFA has declined the introduction of such methods on the grounds that it would deteriorate the game, regardless that it has been successfully integrated in to many other sports including the international and domestic ruby stage.

Truly, why would FIFA deny the introduction of advanced video technology as an aid to the referee? Because it would not allow the officials to make decisions in keeping with FIFA’s ulterior agenda rather they would be forced to make a true reflection of the game at play.

What we need is for several countries to stand together possibly 5 or so and say to FIFA that they will not play in their corrupt tournament. Then and only then would FIFA sit up and listen.

At the moment FIFA has the monopoly on international football and great influence on the domestic game also thus many countries wanting to take a stand against FIFA would be sorely punished.

Things need to change.

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  • 111.
  • At 07:49 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

Reading all the replies on this blog takes you ages so I quit after half the replies to just leave my comment.

As a Dutch citizen I pissed off that my team got knocked out but that doesn't matter such is life and such is football. Some of Ivanov's decisions were correct, some of him were strange or even unbelievable.

After the 2nd yellow of the match (Boulharouz on Ronaldo, which some refs indeed give a red for) I said to my Argentinan housemate.. this match will see more than 1 red card.. I got this feeling.

That players from both sides were diving all the time is just the fact (as I think it is) that Ivanov did give the cards to easy. If he did give a strong warning once or twice instead of giving yellow, the match would be totaly different (ok the Boulharouz was a yellow for sure).

I'm not happy the way my Dutch played, neither was I happy with the way Portugal had their share in it but then the next:

"Figo gives the glasgow kiss to Van Bommel (not Boulharouz), Ivanov missed it.. no problem, can happen Ivanov is human as far as I know. Van Bronkhorst reports the assistent referee's attention to Ivanov, which means it has been seen. As far as I know the rules in football (been playing for over 20 years) that should be a RED card."

I had peace with the fact he didn't send him of.. just said Figo was damn lucky.

"5 minutes later.. Portuguese player sprints to the corner, Bhoularouz jumps in front of him, either using his arm deliberatly or not.. you are defending.. he gets his 2nd yellow and is of and who lies on the floor as if he has been shot.... FIGO!!"

That thing escalated the match. If Ivanov made the right decision it would have been 11 against 9 instead of 10-10 at the Boulharouz incident. That would had changed the complete remainder of the game.

Portugal did win because the were more effective with their chances. Van Nistelrooij (I used to play against him while I was 6-8yrs old playing in the same region) would had come on the pitch if Boulharouz wasn't send off.

In the end Ivanov had a difficult match with some very strange decisions.. but in my eyes (and I think you all agree) made 1 mistake... the yellow for Figo!!

Well life goes on and well meet again in 2008.

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  • 112.
  • At 08:43 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Jack Rowlings wrote:

Yes, the game was ugly, and there was an equal amount of cheating on both sides, but what really disgusts me is the reaction of my fellow Englishmen.

It is all too obvious that the majority of my compatriots are venting their voices in fear. Why is it that all the noise is coming from us? It's because you're all cowards, who are afraid to face Portugal in full force.

I feel ashamed, that our media has been attempting to influence FIFA into taking Figo out for the next game. Instead of trying to eliminate the opponents of England through whining and moaning, we should stand up and face them, with confidence and skill.

I say let Figo play… I say let Deco play… I fear no opponent belonging to the other team, because I have confidence in our own team. Stop bickering and support our players...

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  • 113.
  • At 06:09 AM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • joao wrote:

hello from canada, being a hockey fan, I thought the game was great. Full of emotion, and desire to win. beutiful it was not, entertaining, yes. The only blunder the ref made was when that dutch guy impaled renaldo,after that it was take no prisioners. saying that, its tough for him to send a player off after
30 min. but that is what should have been done, there have been worse calls. refs are only human, just like players they dont always get it right, they are the wild card in a game and are part of the game, they ract to the players and the players react to them. It still takes goals to win and it was 1 - 0, thats all that matters. So qouting some other fellow somewhere " it was a good day for orange juice, bring on the english muffins".

ps. win or lose have beer or two, and put as much passion in the rest of your lives.

cheers : portugal fan.


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  • 114.
  • At 06:27 AM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • joao wrote:

hello from canada, being a hockey fan, I thought the game was great. Full of emotion, and desire to win. beutiful it was not, entertaining, yes. The only blunder the ref made was when that dutch guy impaled renaldo,after that it was take no prisioners. saying that, its tough for him to send a player off after
30 min. but that is what should have been done, there have been worse calls. refs are only human, just like players they dont always get it right, they are the wild card in a game and are part of the game, they ract to the players and the players react to them. It still takes goals to win and it was 1 - 0, thats all that matters. So qouting some other fellow somewhere " it was a good day for orange juice, bring on the english muffins".

ps. win or lose have beer or two, and put as much passion in the rest of your lives.

cheers : portugal fan.


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  • 115.
  • At 06:15 PM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • Ricardo Amaro wrote:

Just as a sidenote... do you all know how many fouls were sancioned on that match???
Answer: 25!!!
20 cards on 25 fouls... that alone shoud be a record too.

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  • 116.
  • At 03:40 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • DS wrote:

Last season in the leading North American ice hockey professional league NHL has just finished. This was the season when forwards prevail over defensemen because of NHL worked for to clean the game out of unsporty dirt. So there was lot of beautiful goals, outstanding combinations etc. What is more fans could expect from the game?

It is good if FIFA would do the same.
But this Blatter's opinion about Ivanov could crack down this FIFA policy at the very start...

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  • 117.
  • At 01:23 AM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • Sergei wrote:

The teams were completely out of control and deserved even more yellow and red cards. FIFA officials are acting irresponsibly by putting all the blame on the referee. Sepp Blatter deserves a red card for his comments.

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  • 118.
  • At 08:25 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • Michiel wrote:

I wonder why your justified hostility against unfair play mainly translates in antipathy for the Netherlands. Perhaps you live in a country where headbutts and kicking in the nuts (Mr Rooney) are considered normal forms of greeting. And please don't start about fakedives. England played Portugal today and as you see there is only one undisputet king of fakedives and simulation and that is the team who knocked you out.

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  • 119.
  • At 08:31 AM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

Now that the dust has settled, just a small point.

Gareth, Stephan Blunt and innit where is your conspiracy theory now. "FIFA's favourite squad" is what innit wrote - that must be Portugal, not England as you say. Germany through on a dodgey decision I think not. Whilst I am not a fan of the big wigs in FIFA, my friends you got it completely wrong!!! The only consipiracy in FIFA is that they never want England to win the competition again. Argentinian referee for a QF match, the only game where any of the referees had a stake in the outcome, down to how his own country performed against Germany. The teams through to the semis are through coz they won and are through on merit, not because it was thrown. England didn't have the bottle, France are now warming up, and how. Germany have the backing of their nation and Italy's opponents were not good enough. Sneaky suspicion a new name could be on the trophy - Portugal, but they will need to beat the home team and the home nation - no mean feat. Enjoy the rest of the 'non fixed' world cup.

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  • 120.
  • At 11:09 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Albert Einstine wrote:

Andy,

Oh how fast you ruled out the Italians.

Well after the Argentina Match that was swung their way from external forces it looks like the Germans had justice served with PASTA!

Mama Mia GOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL


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  • 121.
  • At 06:01 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Albert Einstine wrote:

Andy,

You wrote off the Italians too soon mate. As far as i am concrened the Germans had justice served with a slice of pizza and a plate fo pasta.

Still... the true champions of this tournament should be the Argentinians abd for that i am Glad that the Germans did not get tot he finals.

For that would not be justice.

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  • 122.
  • At 07:46 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

Hey Alebrt,

You missed my point. I did not rule any of the semi finalists out. I believe I said that the teams were there on Merit. My point being that there is no conspiracy, and the fact that according to Gareth, Stephan an innit, FIFA will allow England and Germany to waltz into the final. The Italians having beaten the Germans and England going out earlier just proves a point - no conspiracy, no match fixing, no biased referees. Now my favoured team of the semi-finalists, Portugal is out I will sit back and enjoy the final, but I won't put my mortgage on who's going to win.

Albert, enjoy the Final. For you I hope the Italians win, for the French I hope France wins, for me, I hope football wins and the rest of us get a game worthy of a final!!

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  • 123.
  • At 01:01 AM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Rene wrote:

The ONLY Question: What the #%@& Did Materazzi Say to Zidane to set him off like that???

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  • 124.
  • At 10:18 AM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Albert Einstine wrote:

Why does every body cling to this theory that just because a conspiracy did not work the there was no conspiracy in the first place. Success in achieving the goal of the conspiracy is not part of the definition of a conspiracy.

FIFA were up to so many things but in the end just as in Physics - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Examples of the tournament hidden agenda are:

1-Sacrife a good team to elevate an African team.
2-Elevate England in the tournament
3-Elevate Germany in the tournament
4-Back France in the Final.
5-Eliminate Argentina

With so much going on it is a wonder why people are really so blind. It is as plain as the nose on the end of your face!!!.

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  • 125.
  • At 04:57 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Marco wrote:

FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006 - FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006FORZA AZZURI - CHAMPIONI DEL MONDO 2006

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