Stephane Lannoy should be ashamed of himself. The French referee who was in charge of Sunday’s group G match between Brazil and the Ivory Coast has done a disservice to world football.
An absolute horror on the pitch, Lannoy appeared to be a deer caught in headlights. Despite hard falls by Ivory Coast, especially after Brazil took the lead, Lannoy brought out the yellow card once to Tiene in the 31st minute.
Things got extremely worse after Elano scored his second goal of the tourney in the 62nd minute of the match. Ismael Tioté was a mercenary on the field tonight; it appeared his sole reason for playing was to bring hurt to the Brazilian game.
His ultraviolent foul where he opened up his boots, spikes up, and left it there for it to strike Elano’s leg who was sliding in for a steal. If Elano had not been wearing his shin guards there is a very good chance he would be lost for the tournament with a broken leg (subsequently his x-rays came back negative but he is day-to-day for the next match).
Keita followed suite in the 75th, picking up his own yellow for stepping on Michel Bastos’s thigh. At this point even Drogba was seen raising his shoulders in a "why did you do that?" type of move to his own teammate.
With five minutes left, Kaka had had enough and inexplicably shoved Keita while the ball was not in play. The ref saw this one somehow and showed Kaka his first yellow of the match.
Two minutes later during a play, Keita stood up and ran toward the direction Kaka was heading. It should be noted that Kaka never looked back to see Keita, although he may have through the corner of his eye. Kaka didn’t raise his elbow, didn’t go out of his way to strike Keita, and despite that, when his arm did make contact with Keita’s chest, the former Barcelona man went down holding his face as if Kaka struck him with a sharp elbow.
After lobbying by the players from the Ivory Coast, the French ref called Kaka back and showed him his second yellow and therefore his red card and ban from Brazil’s third group match.
Kaka shouldn’t have had his first yellow; he is smarter than to push a player in front of the ref during a dead ball and assume he would not be seen. If that hadn't happened, his second yellow would be meaningless and this problem would be solved.
Despite the victory by 3-1 and despite the qualification for the round of 16, this referee's horrible showing must not go unnoticed. FIFA should recognize the mistake and remove him from further matches as well as clearing Kaka from his suspension. I doubt the latter would occur, but FIFA does have the power and have done it in the past.