Soccer's 18 Most Notorious Blown Calls of All Time
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
It's a bit of an exaggeration to say that these are Soccer's 18 Most Notorious Blown Calls of All Time, I know that. With football happening all over the world every single day, it's difficult to narrow down the best of the worst.
Therefore, this is an incomplete list, as poor refereeing decisions happen in the Barclay's Premier League all the way down to local pub leagues.
Regardless of the team you support, you have surely felt you have received the short end of the stick. However, after looking at this, you may not feel so bad. On the other hand, you may feel even worse.
China's Olympic Campaign Comes to an End
Even Mao couldn't help China's national team.
Harry How/Getty Images
Playing with a man down, and needing a goal to secure their progression in Asian Olympic Qualifying, China was on the wrong end of a blown call that extinguished their chances for London 2012.
Leading by a goal, China needed a second to qualify due to losing to Oman previously in the tournament. As stoppage time waned, China had one last chance, as a free kick was awarded just outside the box.
The Chinese player sent the ball in, bouncing past his first team mate and landing at the feet of Wu Xi at the back post. The ball was expertly finished, but just as the players celebrated, the goal was disallowed.
Iranian linesman Mohsen Torki ruled the ball had struck the first Chinese player, though video footage shows differently.
China will now spend the summer of 2012 at home.
1973 Cup Winners' Cup Final
Leeds got done in Greece.
Don Revie's Leeds United side was known as Dirty Leeds. However, AC Milan and more importantly referee Christos Michas must have taught them a lesson or two.
Milan got a fifth-minute goal from a Luciano Chiarugi free kick. Over the next 85 minutes, Leeds was continuously denied foul after foul, and had at least two penalties turned down.
In the 89th minute, Leeds' Norman Hunter was given a straight red card after attacking Milan captain Gianni Rivera. Rivera had blatantly kicked Hunter in the Achilles as he dribbled down the pitch. Handbags ensued, and Leeds lost the cup final.
Michas was later convicted of match-fixing throughout the 1970s, and the 1973 Cup Winners' Cup Final is seen as a prime example of his corruption.
Since then, Yorkshire MEP Richard Corbett started a petition to investigate the final. It is now in UEFA's hands.
1965 European Cup Semifinal
Italy has always been a tough place for English teams.
Liverpool and Inter contested the 1965 European Cup semifinal second leg, the precursor to today's Champions League, at the San Siro.
Liverpool won the first leg 3-1 at Anfield, and looked like a good bet to go through to the final. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
Inter got the first goal when Mario Corso converted a free kick from outside the box. A minute later Inter scored again, this time with a controversial goal.
Striker Joaquin Peiro came from behind the Reds' goalkeeper Thomas Lawrence and knocked it from his hands. Peiro then coolly curled it into the goal. Liverpool was outraged, and surrounded referee Jose Maria Ortiz de Mendibil to little affect.
The clubs were level on three goals a piece when Giacinto Facchetti finished off the Reds just past the hour mark. Liverpool had a goal disallowed that would have forced extra time.
2010 World Cup
Edu's excellent finished negated.
The USA finished top of their group at the 2010 World Cup. Their qualification from the group stage was highly in doubt, however, following their second match against Slovenia.
Down two at halftime, the USA mounted a comeback. Landon Donovan scored just after halftime, and Michael Bradley leveled the match in the 82nd minute.
Just before the end of the match, the the USA was awarded a free kick just outside of the box. Unbelievably, Donovan's ball into the box was volleyed home by Maurice Edu, giving the USA the win. However, moments later, referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed the goal.
Replays show Edu onside, and no USA player committing a foul; though the same can't be said for Slovenia's players. No reason has been given for Coulibaly's wrong decision.
On a side note, in a 2010 African Champions League match between Al-Ahly and Ismaily SC, Coulibaly again came under scrutiny when he allowed Al-Ahley to score four minutes into stoppage time.
In 2011, he and his assistants were attacked following a match between Club Africain and Al Hilal.
Stuart Attwell: Part 1
A royal cock-up.
Stuart Attwell has continually come under fire as a referee in both the Premier League and the Football League.
In September 2008, Attwell controversially awarded a Reading goal, though the ball never crossed the goal line.
His assistant, Nigel Bannister, was also criticized as he flagged for the goal. Watford's John Eustace had cleared the ball over the byline, but it was hooked back into play by a Reading player.
Though the ball was four yards wide of the goal, Bannister flagged for a goal, rather than a corner.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Stuart Attwell: Part 2
Royal cock-up number two.
In November 2008, Attwell was at it again, this time in a heated East Midlands Derby.
First, Attwell disallowed a two perfectly good headers that would have given Derby County the win. The first goal was disallowed when Attwell wrongly gave Derby a penalty. Derby's penalty was subsequently saved, keeping the score at 1-all.
Second, Attwell whistled for a "ghost foul" against Derby in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The proposed guilty party was Miles Addison, who headed in the winning goal that was subsequently disallowed.
Even the announcers were flabbergasted.
1984 UEFA Cup
The dynamic duo.
Getty Images/Getty Images
Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest led Belgium's Anderlecht going into the second leg 2-0 on aggregate. However, Forest was beaten 3-0 in the second leg, and crashed out of the competition.
Referee Guruceta Muro, who was killed in a 1987 car crash, disallowed a Forest goal that would have leveled the match in the aggregate and put Forest through thanks to the "away goals" rule.
Thanks to video replay, the goal was proven to be fair; however, his decision stood. Muro also gave Anderlecht a contentious penalty to help the club's cause.
In 1997, UEFA took action against the Belgians, when it was confirmed former Anderlecht chairman Constant Vanden Stock had paid the referee around $40,000 the day after the final.
The ball must have been made of lead.
The 2002 World Cup has gone down as one of the worst in referee performances. There were numerous decisions during the tournament that dictated the outcome of matches.
In Brazil's opening game of the group stage, Rivaldo took center circle when he duped the referee into dismissing Turkey's Hakan Unsal.
Unsal, who was already on a yellow card, kicked the ball to Rivaldo as the Brazilian was preparing to take a corner. Instead of catching the ball Rivaldo allowed it to strike him. Though it struck his leg, Rivaldo fell to the ground clutching his face.
Unsal was sent off, and Rivaldo jumped to his feet like he'd been...struck on the leg by a football.
Fortunately, FIFA fined the Brazilian in their first crackdown of a high-profile player for diving. Unfortunately, the fine was a mere $7,700.
Hurst's Goal: In or Out?
The goal that was, that really wasn't.
England was up in arms after Frank Lampard's goal wasn't given at the 2010 World Cup. Lampard's shot hit the underside of the crossbar, and came down in the goal; only to bounce out. The referee and the assistant were to slow to react, and the goal wasn't given.
Forty-four years earlier, England and Germany found themselves in a similar circumstance, only this time the call went England's way.
With the game level at two in extra time, Geoff Hurst received the ball inside the box, turned and shot. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar and came down—what looks like—on the goal line, before bouncing back toward the center of the pitch. The goal was given, and England added a fourth just before full-time.
Since then, there has been much controversy surrounding the goal that was or wasn't.
Poll Disallows Westerveld's Goal on Himself
The best England had to offer?
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Graham Poll took charge of the second Merseyside Derby of 2000, and left his mark on the final scoreline of the match.
As the final seconds ticked away and the score nil-nil, Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld kicked the ball straight into Everton's Don Hutchison's back as the Everton man was walking back to midfield. The ball rebounded off of Hutchison and into the Reds' goal.
It looked like Everton had won, but Poll disallowed the goal. He stated that he had already blown the final whistle prior to the ball striking Hutchison. The game ended in a draw.
Irish eyes are crying.
In November 2009, Thierry Henry was vilified for an action most people would hope to get away with if they were in a similar situation.
France and Ireland were level on aggregate after regulation in their 2010 World Cup playoff qualifier. Extra time was needed to settle the winner and last team to qualify for the World Cup.
In the 14th minute of extra time, France won a free kick in the Irish half. Florent Malouda sent the free kick into Ireland's 18-yard box where it bounced into Thierry Henry's hand.
Henry was then able to control and cross the ball in front of goal to William Gallas. The defender coolly booked the French team's place in South Africa.
France imploded at the World Cup, giving Irish everywhere something to smile about.
AC Milan on the Receiving End from Juve
Don't blink or you'll miss it.
AC Milan and Juventus met in February of this year at San Siro. The two Italian giants sat one and two in the Serie A table as they entered the homestretch of the season.
Milan went up a goal early in the first half, and looked to have sealed victory before halftime when Sulley Muntari headed a clear goal across the Juventus goal line.
The linesman was perfectly placed to award the goal; however, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon clawed the ball back into play, giving the impression the ball hadn't crossed the line. Juventus quickly broke down field, and nearly scored on their ensuing attack..
Milan got some revenge later in the match when Juventus striker Alessandro Matri was wrongly called offside when he buried his shot into the Milan net.
In the end, Matri and Juventus would score the equalizer, and leave San Siro with a point. The result could affect this year's Scudetto.
By a Head and an Arm
Frings' blatant handball.
The USA surprised everyone at the 2002 World Cup and unleashed a generation of players onto an unsuspecting public.
The USA found themselves in the quarterfinals of the tournament after knocking off Mexico, and were up against the mighty Germans.
The USA had several chances in the first half, but Germany's Oliver Kahn continued to frustrate the Yanks. Just before halftime, the Germans were on the back foot. Nonetheless, they took the lead when Michael Ballack headed in a free kick.
The Germans nearly got a second moments later when Miroslav Klose hit the woodwork, and the USA limped into halftime.
The USA recovered as the second half started and created chances. After winning a corner, Claudio Reyna sent the ball into the box where it was met by a USA player. The ball seemed to get past Kahn, but was stopped in its path on the goal line by Torsten Frings' arm.
Kahn covered the ball, the USA argued with the officials and the 2002 World Cup continued to have some of the worst refereeing of any finals.
If the handball would have been given, the USA would have been awarded a penalty. A penalty was anything but a sure thing against Kahn. Frings would have been sent off as well, and the USA would have been a man up for the remainder of the match.
Italy on the Receiving End of a Crooked Referee
Sticking with the 2002 World Cup and bad calls by referees, no one can be more upset than Italy—maybe Spain. The Italians had five goals disallowed in three matches. All of which were legitimate goals.
Rumour has it FIFA wanted one of the host countries—South Korea or Japan—to make it deep into the tournament, and this was to be achieved by any means.
The Italians took on South Korea in the round of 16 in Daejeon, South Korea. The match was officiated by Ecuadorian Byron Moreno, who, along with his assistants, made several puzzling calls during the match.
Early in the match, the Koreans were awarded a dubious penalty; however, Gianluigi Buffon saved and the score remained at zero. The Italians got a goal in the first half from Christian Vieri, and after, Moreno became even more one-sided.
Italy had a scoring chance chalked off in extra time when Vieri played Damiano Tommasi through on goal, but the assistant again flagged for offside.
South Korea continually went unpunished for fouls, and the worst call was about to occur at Italy's expense. Francesco Totti was sent off for a dive, though replays show he was taken down by the Korean defender—despite the defender getting a minimal touch on the ball—and minutes later, South Korea got the win thanks to a Ahn Jung-Hwan's golden goal.
Moreno was under suspicion for match-fixing due to this match, and didn't help his cause after the tournament when he allowed 13 minutes of stoppage time in an Ecuadorian league match.
Those 13 minutes allowed Deportiva, trailing 3-2, to score twice and win 4-2. He was suspended due to the result. He made headlines again for sending three players off in one match, and was suspended yet again.
In September 2010, Moreno was arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle heroin into the USA. The former referee was carrying six kilograms of heroin in his underwear. Italians everywhere rejoiced!
Again, South Korea Benefit from Bad Referee Decisions
The Italian treatment.
One round later, the South Koreans took on Spain in Gwangju. At the time, many believed this Spanish side could lift the trophy, and they were a few dodgy calls away from advancing to the semifinals.
During the course of the 90 minutes, Spain had two goals disallowed, and was called offside on several occasions, killing momentous attacks.
"Everyone saw two perfectly good goals. If Spain didn't win, it's because they didn't let us win." Spain's Ivan Helguera said after the match.
Compared to Spain, Korea's chances were few and far between, and after holding on in stoppage time was able to beat the Spanish on penalties.
Chelsea out at the Hands of Tom Henning Ovrebo
Think there's a fix? See for yourself.
To say Barcelona is favoured by UEFA maybe an understatement. Even former Leeds United manager David O'Leary made similar claims in his book Leeds on Trial. However, no team more than Chelsea will feel that Barcelona is favoured by Europe's governing body of football.
The teams met at Stamford Bridge after a scoreless draw at Camp Nou in the 2009 Champions League semifinal second leg. In the ninth minute, Michael Essien put the West Londoners on top with a fantastic volley from outside the box.
What occurred over the next 80 minutes was Chelsea players—and Barca players—being yanked all over the park. Chelsea had four penalty claims during the match, including what many referees would deem a handball in the closing seconds of the match, that were all waved away.
Barcelona won the match thanks to an away goal and defeated Manchester United in the final.
Even with the whole world watch.
Clive Thomas is one referee many football fans love to hate. In 1975, Thomas was the referee for West Ham and Ipswich Town's FA Cup semifinal. Town supporters were up in arms when Thomas disallowed a perfectly good goal for offsides.
The bizarre part of his decision was his assistant didn't flag for any infringement. Thomas had made the call on his own despite his poor positioning. West Ham went on to win the semifinal 2-1.
In the 1976 European Champions semifinal match between Holland and Czechoslovakia, he missed a foul on Johan Cruyff which led to Czechoslovakia scoring the winning goal.
In 1977, he was again amid controversy, this time in a match between Liverpool and Everton. The two Merseyside clubs were contesting the FA Cup semifinal.
Thomas disallowed a goal near the end of the match by Bryan Hamilton—who coincidentally was the Ipswich Town player he'd given offside to in the '75 semifinal—that would have given Everton the win.
However, Thomas saved his most controversial decision for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Keep in mind Argentina had had a military coup two years before the tournament, and the stories of corruption and match-fixing regarding this World Cup are rife.
Thomas was in charge of Brazil and Sweden's first-round group match. With the score level at one goal, Brazil was given a corner. However, just before Zico headed in what was the winning goal, Thomas blew for full-time. This prevented Brazil from collecting maximum points and topping their group.
Keep in mind Argentina and Brazil are arch rivals, and Argentina later advanced to the final—at the expense of Brazil—by putting six goals past Peru. There are rumours the Peruvians were paid off.
The final choice in this selection of blown calls is obvious. There's really no explanation needed, so just watch the video.