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Think Team USA Got the Shaft? Try Germany

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18:  Miroslav Klose of Germany (top) is awarded a second yellow card and is sent off by referee Alberto Undiano as Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany appeals during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group D match between Germany and Serbia at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Brian TuohyCorrespondent IJune 19, 2010

While Americans who've never watched a soccer game in their lives rant and rave about their team getting "robbed" in the World Cup, they need to open their eyes and look at what happened in another game that was played—and marred—by a referee today.

Kicking off shortly before USA-Slovenia, the heavily favored German team squared off against Serbia. During the contest, nine yellow cards were issued, the most in any World Cup game so far this tournament.

The most important one was assessed in the 37th minute. Germany's Miroslave Klose roughly tackled a Serbian player and was issued his second yellow card in the contest. As two yellows equates to a red card, Spanish referee Alberto Undiano sent Klose to the sidelines, leaving Germany shorthanded.

One minute later, Serbia scored what would be the only goal in the game.

Questions could be raised as to whether either of Klose's cards were justified. But if one looks beyond what occurred on the field to questions swirling off of it, then perhaps Undiano's calls make more sense.

In May 2010, the head of the English Football Association, Lord Triesman resigned his post. Triesman was caught in a secret recording discussing the fact that World Cup matches were in danger of being fixed .

Not just that, but Triesman revealed that Spanish football officials were attempting to bribe referees in the then-upcoming World Cup. Spain, one of the favored teams to win the World Cup, apparently were willing to go a step further to ensure their boys won.

Interestingly, it was a Spanish referee whose call cost Germany—perhaps Spain's biggest rival for the title—the game today with his freewheelin' use of the yellow card.

Merely a coincidence?

While everyone points an accusing finger at the first-time African referee in Team USA's game, perhaps attention needs to be focused elsewhere.

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