World Cup 2014: 10 Most Controversial Moments from 2nd-Round Stage Games
The second-round fixtures at this year’s World Cup are complete, and for the first time in the competition’s history, all eight group winners have made it to the quarter-finals.
Belgium’s victory over the United States wrapped up the Round of 16, with Marc Wilmots’ side joining Brazil, Argentina, Holland, France, Colombia, Germany and Costa Rica in the last eight.
The last four days have produced genuine drama on and off the pitch, with late goals, penalty shootouts and incidents galore dominating the headlines in South America.
So as the tournament edges closer to its conclusion, Bleacher Report takes a close look at the 10 most controversial moments from the second-round stage ties.
10. Jurgen Klinsmann’s Injury-Time Fury
With his USA side in the ascendency as the clock ticked down in extra time, Jurgen Klinsmann urged his players forward as they looked for the goal that would keep them in the competition.
Trailing 2-1 to Belgium, America had gone agonisingly close to equalising and the tie looked set for a grandstand finish as stoppage time loomed.
When the fourth official held up his board, however, only a solitary minute was added, and Klinsmann blew his top on the touchline.
The legendary German had criticised FIFA’s appointment of Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi before a ball had been kicked in Salvador.
The former striker was concerned that his side’s opponents would have the upper hand when it came to communicating with Haimoudi in French, as reported by the BBC.
9. Uruguay’s Support for Luis Suarez
Despite the disgraceful actions of their talismanic striker against Italy, Uruguay’s fanatical support backed Luis Suarez to the hilt for their last-16 clash with Colombia.
Banned for four months for biting Giorgio Chiellini, the erratic forward was forced to watch the clash at home, leaving Oscar Tabarez’s side without an edge up front.
But despite the ignominy of the situation, Suarez’s face was splashed all over the Maracana, with supporters unfurling banners in support of the Liverpool man as well as donning masks.
His absence, however, was notable, as Uruguay crashed out of the tournament thanks to a brace from James Rodriguez.
8. Emmanuel Emenike’s Offside Call
As the clock struck 20 minutes in Nigeria’s clash with in-form France, Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike thought for all the world he’d given his team the lead.
With the tie finely balanced at 0-0, the Fenerbahce forward was picked out by Ahmed Musa’s cross before producing a smart finish beyond the reach of Hugo Lloris and into the corner of the net.
His celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag, who deemed the striker was in an offside position. Instant replays suggested the right call had been made—but only by the slimmest of margins.
7. Hulk’s Disallowed Goal and Booking
English referee Howard Webb became synonymous with bad decision-making on the biggest stage of all when he famously failed to punish Nigel De Jong’s kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 final.
This time around though, he made amends with a controversial call that enraged Brazil and their fans, but was fully vindicated by television replays.
Striker Hulk initially looked to have controlled the ball on his chest before scoring what would have been the deciding goal against Chile in the 55th minute.
But despite uproar inside the stadium, eagle-eyed Webb spotted the ball had actually made contact with his arm and disallowed the effort before brandishing a yellow card.
6. Fernando Santos Points the Finger at His Players
Furious Greece manager Fernando Santos wasted little time in pointing to the culprits after his side lost out on penalties to 10-man Costa Rica in the last 16.
And as a parting shot before leaving his post, the 59-year-old blasted his players for chasing individual glory rather than getting the job done against the tournament’s surprise package.
In an interview with Radio Noticas, via The Guardian, Santos said: “We had two or three players more interested in being remembered as the man to score a historic goal for Greece.
“It concerned them more to score than the correct circulation of the ball, leading to many mistakes and us losing possession.”
5. Blaise Matuidi’s Foul on Ogenyi Onazi
Such was the impact of Blaise Matuidi’s Foul on Nigeria’s Ogenyi Onazi, the Frenchman felt compelled to go into the opposition dressing room to apologise after the match.
The mistimed tackle has been widely criticised, but Super Eagles boss Stephen Keshi pointed the finger at American referee Mark Geiger for failing to produce a red card.
In an interview with The Sunday Morning Herald, he said: “I don't think we deserved to lose this game this way, but its part of football and it can happen any time. The referee decides what happens on the field.
“I am not happy with the officiating. On two occasions there was a very bad tackle and nothing was done by the referee. This is the first time I have spoken about the referee in my life as a coach, but it wasn't good.”
4. Miguel Herrera Holds Referees Accountable
One of the most colourful characters at this year’s World Cup, Mexico boss Miguel Herrera was red with rage after seeing his side knocked out by Holland in dramatic fashion.
The antics of Netherlands forward Arjen Robben particularly riled the 46-year-old, whose passion on the touchline had become one of the standout features of the tournament.
But it was Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca who received the bulk of his wrath, with Herrera saying: “Out of four matches we had three where the refereeing was disastrous and this was the worst.”
As reported by the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman, he added: “Robben did three dives for penalties that didn’t exist. He had to be cautioned.
“But then when they send a referee from the same confederation where they have a team, this is what happens. The least we can hope is that this gentleman goes home just like us.”
3. Oscar Duarte’s Red Card
With 23 minutes remaining of Costa Rica’s last-16 clash with Greece, centre-back Oscar Duarte set his country up for a nervy finale when a second yellow card was produced for his foul on Jose Holebas.
Nowhere near as bad as some of the crimes that had gone unpunished in previous games, the Central Americans were forced to defend their lead with 10 men.
In truth, Duarte left the referee with little option, and when Sokratis Papastathopoulos netted in stoppage time, Los Ticos looked crestfallen.
But the resultant penalty-shootout victory erased all memory of the sending off, despite the fact Costa Rica will be without the defender for the quarter-final clash with Holland.
2. Vasilis Torosidis’ Handball That Went Unpunished
We all know the outcome of Costa Rica’s famous shootout victory over Greece, but their passage to the last eight could have been much more straightforward.
Just moments after Bryan Ruiz had given the Central Americans the lead, the referee inexplicably missed a clear handball inside the penalty area by Vasilis Torosidis.
Los Ticos were incensed as the defender denied the onrushing Christian Bolanos, but the referee failed to award what looked like a certain penalty and play continued.
Costa Rica saw a potential 2-0 lead whipped from under their feet, and they were left to progress the hard way.
1. Arjen Robben’s Diving in Fortaleza
As Mexico boss Miguel Herrera raged following his team’s harsh exit from Brazil 2014, Dutch star Arjen Robben hardly helped the situation by admitting he had dived—though not for crucial last-gasp penalty.
The Bayern Munich forward was perceived to have been fouled inside the area in stoppage time, though replays suggest he went to ground far too easily in an effort to sway the officials.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stepped up to put Holland through, but in comments made after the controversial clash, Robben said: “There was one foul in the first half where I went to the ground because I thought (the opponent) was going to tackle me, but he took his leg away at the last moment and I went to ground without a touch."
As reported by The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield, he added: “It was a stupid action from me but it had no influence on the game. I apologise for this action in the first half but this is football.
“It had nothing to do with the result of the game. So I apologise for one stupid action but it didn’t have an influence in the game. We had two clear penalties, one given. That was it. Now we should move on.”