William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Valiant U.S. Squad Robbed of World Cup Victory Over Slovenia

    The U.S. was down 2-0, but fought back to tie 2-2 against Slovenia in a game that will be remembered for the Referee making a horrible call that stole victory from the Americans. While the three points were stolen, the tie gives the U.S. an excellent chance to advance out of the group stage. Plus, the U.S. certainly impressed with their determination and fire in coming back to save their World Cup hopes.

    Still, the Americans were screwed. One wonders if President Barack Obama will force FIFA to put $20 billion into an escrow account to help out Americans that are suffering from the referee’s brutally bad call.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles


    Was that a phantom foul, or what? I couldn't believe it. But then, I couldn't believe the US came back from 2-0, so what do I know?

    Also, I can't believe England just tied with Algeria, 0-0, leaving the US in second place (for now). Don't even get me started on Serbia and Switzerland. WTF? Weirdest World Cup ever.

    Good that France lost though. Cheaters.

    The Brazilian announcer came right out and said the Ref didn't like the U.S. and his call spoiled what would have been a brilliant finish to the game. Still, after the England tie, the U.S. beats Algeria and they advance. I'm Ok with that.

    Yeah, I'm okay with that too, but who knows what will happen. Algeria looked pretty good against England and who could have predicted that Slovenia would be at the top after two games? All this craziness (not just in Group C) makes for a pretty exciting tournament though. With a couple of exceptions, which teams will advance is still up in the air!

    I saw lots of pushing, shoving and holding on that kick -- overwhelmingly by the Slovenians. Why that should result in disallowance of an American goal escapes me. I think you wuz robbed.

    But at this point, I'd bet on the U.S. advancing over England. That would be a good thing -- the Brits need a real wake-up call, and American soccer needs a big boost.

    I keep waiting for a press interview in which Coulibaly explains what he thought he saw. Bad calls happen, I get that, but I'm not used to not knowing what the call was. Is that common in pro soccer?

    He doesn't have to explain his call to the players on the field, though refs often appear to do so. And he doesn't have to be available to the media until just before the next game he officiates at, which I believe is on Wednesday (I could be wrong on that).

    I really, really hope his next game is not U.S. vs. Algeria. Another bad call could spark history's first known soccer riot by Americans.

    What I've read today about FIFA refereeing suggests we'll never get clarity on this call. The only people Coulibaly has to explain anything to is the refereeing committee -- if they find fault with his game-day written report. And even if that happens, the dirty linen will be washed behind closed doors.

    The refereeing committee has a pre-scheduled meeting with the media Monday, so I imagine they'll have to address the incident. Something like, "We are constantly assessing the performance of all our officials to ensure the highest, etc. ...." The only clue we'll have as to how they assessed Coulibaly is whether he is quietly dropped from reffing the next round of games. 

    I don't get it. This isn't classified information. How does the lack of transparency benefit to the sport? Does this kind of thing happen a lot?

    People have been making a lot of unfavorable comparisons with umpire Jim Joyce's heartfelt apology for a bad call. But that was a rare act of contrition that I would not expect as a matter of course. What I would expect as a matter of course is to know what the call is.

    Yep, transparency is what's called for. But FIFA don't roll like that. Internal politics and institutional arrogance are more their style. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised tomorrow.

    Here's a great line from one news story today:

    On Monday, the FIFA referee committee tried to go on a charm offensive by inviting the media to an open day but totally defeated the object of the exercise by refusing to answer questions about specific decisions.

    Another article compared the committee to the Politburo.

    So much for pleasant surprises. At least Coulibaly is out.

    Even better than trying to justify that no-goal call, Genghis, is that FIFA officials now have to decide whether to give Brazil's Kaka a one- or two-game suspension for his supposed foul of an Ivorian player near the end of today's game.

    As everyone saw via repeated replays the Ivorian simply ran into Kaka, who was looking the other way. He then fell down clutching his face in an Oscar-worthy performance. If FIFA has any concern for its credibility, it will void Kaka's red card and suspend the "victim" from all future Cup play. Can't wait to see Wolfrum weigh in on this fiasco.

    I'm not that upset about it as A) Brazil has now advanced and B) Luis Fabiano committed two hand balls scoring the second goal.

    The ref let the game get out of control and nearly paid the price. What I didn't like about the red mostly was that I don't believe the ref even saw it. It wasn't even a foul, the guy just dove.

    Of course, Brazil has done the same before in the WC and benefitted (Rivaldo Vs. Turkey in 2002) , so it is what it is. Hopefully Kaka won't get a one-game suspension. If he does, no biggie. They qualified already and Julio Baptista isn't exactly a slouch.

    What upsets me more is that The U.S. and England games are at the same time on Wednesday.

    If you're as big a fan of dodgy refereeing as I am, Wolfie, you'll watch England-Slovenia. FIFA today announced who'll officiate at that crucial game: Wolfgang Stark. This despite already being criticized for a bad call on the winning goal in the Argentina-Nigeria match.

    Stark was also responsible for a quasi-riot in Toronto in 2007, when his apparent (I could say blatant) pro-Argentina bias so infuriariated the Chilean U20 players that cops had to use tear gas to keep them from ripping him a new whistle-hole. Chile actually lodged a diplomatic protest with Canada over the incident.

    Since the match won't involve Argentina, Stark may well perform fairly and competently. But don't be surprised if we get another controversy in which bad calls decide who goes into the next round.

    Latest Comments