Saturday, June 10, 2006

Finally, the eccentric referees make their debut!

Finally, the eccentric referees make their debut!
It took until the third match of World Cup 2006 but at last we've seen a lunatic referee take charge of a game. It's a trademark of each tournament - referees who've barely been involved in a pub kick around, let alone a top class match, penalising players for infringements the average fan barely knew existed!

Today, in the England versus Paraguay match, Mexican Marco Rodriguez called the Paraguay goalkeeper for holding onto the ball too long (I counted about six and half seconds), a Paraguayan for a foul throw, Gary Neville for pinching yards on a throw, and the same for Ashley Cole, who took two steps forward. None of these would have been given in the Premiership. Still, it's what makes the tournament entertaining and at least we haven't seen the rash of red cards that we normally do in the opening matches.

The question mark about unproven referees always raises its head... few officials outside of the major football nations in Europe and South America get to experience the intensity of match that they will at the World Cup. No excuses for Rodriguez, who officiates in some of the best attended, most passionate matches in club football in the Mexican league. Perhaps he's just drinking the same water as Sven Goran Eriksson!

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