2010 FIFA World Cup: Top 10 Worst Referee's Calls
Another World Cup ends and a number of controversial refereeing decisions have increased clamoring for the use of video replays to aid the officials.
But if every call was a good one, what would we discuss endlessly for the days, weeks and months after the tournament has finished?
Here is a list of the 2010 World Cup’s Top 10 Worst Referee’s Calls that have ensured that outrage, frustration and indignity remain some of the game’s most vital features.
No. 10: Thomas Muller’s Yellow Card—Germany Vs. Argentina
In the normal scheme of things, Ravsham Irmatov’s decision to show Germany’s Thomas Muller a yellow card for a handball in the quarterfinal clash with Argentina wouldn’t be a major issue.
But the fact that this was the German star's second booking of the tournament meant he would miss the World Cup semifinal; the player’s goal earlier in the game had, at least, gone some way to helping Germany reach that stage.
It was also an incredibly harsh booking, which came as Argentina’s Leo Messi had attempted to flick the ball beyond the close attention of Muller.
Muller could have done little to prevent the ball from hitting his motionless arm, but the referee deemed the handball deliberate and the tournament’s best young player had to sit out the biggest game of his shining, albeit brief, career.
No. 9: Luis Fabiano’s Handball Goal—Brazil vs. Ivory Coast
Luis Fabiano had put Brazil ahead in its Group G match against Ivory Coast in the first half.
Five minutes into the second he added a superb strike that ended any hopes of victory for the African side.
However, replays showed that the Brazilian striker had controlled the ball with his hand on two occasions to help him get past the Ivory Coast defenders.
Cameras later showed the referee Stephane Lannoy asking Fabiano if he had used his chest to take the ball down. Naturally, the Brazilian said yes.
No. 8: Shane Smeltz’s Offside Goal—New Zealand vs. Italy
One of the shock results of the 2010 World Cup came courtesy of a bad call by the referee’s assistant.
With only seven minutes gone in New Zealand’s Group F game with Italy, the Oceania qualifiers took a surprise lead, despite goal-scorer Shane Smeltz being offside.
A Simon Elliott free-kick was flicked on by Winston Reid to Smeltz, who was clearly ahead of the play when Reid got his head to the ball.
In fairness to the assistant referee, Reid’s touch on the ball was so slight he may not have seen it.
No. 7: Penalty Mayhem—Spain vs. Paraguay
In the space of two minutes during the second half of this World Cup quarterfinal match, referee Carlos Batres awarded two penalties—one to either side.
Neither decision was particularly contentious, though Spain unsuccessfully argued for the dismissal of Paraguay’s Antolin Alcaraz who, as the last man, had denied David Villa a goal scoring opportunity.
However, the referee didn’t glorify his skills when he made numerous game breaking oversights within those few minutes of mayhem.
First, Oscar Cardozo had his penalty saved by Iker Casillas, though the goalkeeper had illegally moved a yard from his line before the ball was kicked.
Perhaps the referee was trying to rectify his error when he disallowed Spain’s spot kick finish for encroachment in the area.
Xavi Alonso had to retake his kick, which was saved by Justo Villar; in the ensuing scramble for the ball, Cesc Fabregas was fouled in the area by the Paraguayan goalkeeper.
Nevertheless, the referee had obviously decided he had seen enough penalty action and waved play on.
No. 6: Miroslav Klose’s Red Card—Germany vs. Serbia
A first half red card shown to Germany striker Miroslav Klose was symptomatic of a very poor performance, according to referee Alberto Undiano.
Overly fussy from the very start of the game, the Spanish referee booked Klose after 12 minutes for a foul on Serbia’s Milan Jovanovic, though the incident looked more like a tangle of legs than a deliberate trip.
With the bar set considerably low so early in the match, almost every subsequent foul earned a yellow card, so with just over half an hour gone a far from dirty match had seen five bookings.
In the 36th minute, Klose fouled Serbia’s Dejan Stankovic while attempting to win the ball; Undiano showed him his second yellow card and sent him from the pitch.
To make an already bad performance even worse, at halftime the Spanish referee realized he was obviously going overboard and became considerably more lax in his maintenance of the rules—the players got away with far worse fouls in the second half.
So, Undiano couldn’t even claim consistency in his credit column.
No. 5: Kaka’s Red Card—Brazil vs. Ivory Coast
As Brazil cruised to a comfortable victory in its Group G match against Ivory Coast, the African team started to become more reckless in their challenges.
Kaka earned a yellow card in the 85th minute for reacting to a particularly brutal foul. Three minutes later, he was sent off to controversial circumstances.
Ivory Coast substitute Kadar Keita ran straight at the Brazilian star, who braced his body for impact.
Once contact was made Keita went to ground, clutching his face despite replays showing it was his chest that hit Kaka’s shoulder.
Nevertheless, referee Stephane Lannoy decided that the Brazilian had raised his elbow and the player was dismissed.
No. 4: Nigel De Jong’s Kung-Fu Kick—Holland vs. Spain
Pity Howard Webb, he was never going to please everyone with his refereeing of the World Cup final.
It was obvious from the start that Holland had planned to kick and foul its way through the game and some critics maintain that Webb should have booked a Dutchman earlier than yellow card he showed to Robin Van Persie in the 15th minute.
He should have taken control of the game, they say, but had he done so, other people would have accused him of spoiling the match and trying to make himself the star of the show.
Nevertheless, Webb's leniency was severely tested by Nigel De Jong’s display of martial arts when the Dutch midfielder planted his studs in Xabi Alonso’s chest.
As much as no neutral wants to see players sent off, De Jong should have walked for that brutal challenge but instead only saw yellow and Holland continued to kick its way to defeat in a poor World Cup final.
No. 3: Carlos Tevez’s Offside Goal—Argentina vs. Mexico
Midway through the first half of its second round match against Argentina, the underdogs Mexico seemed to be in control of the game.
Its defense had stifled the South Americans' much vaunted attack and Mexico had created better opportunities to open the scoring.
That all changed when Carlos Tevez raced clear on goal chasing a through-ball from Leo Messi.
Mexico’s goalkeeper Oscar Perez met the ball first though his clearance and went straight back to Messi, who lobbed it back towards goal.
Tevez used his head to complete the finish, though he was clearly in an offside position.
The assistant referee was obviously deceived by the presence of the two Mexican defenders, who had run back to try and deal with Messi’s lob.
However, the instant replays shown on the stadium’s big screen clearly proved he had made the wrong decision.
Despite this knowledge, the officials could not change their minds as use of video evidence is not permitted under FIFA rules.
No. 2: Maurice Edu’s Disallowed Goal—USA vs Slovenia
Having clawed its way back into a game it was losing 2-0 at halftime, USA thought it had completed the most dramatic comeback in its history when Maurice Edu volleyed home a late free-kick.
However, the referee Koman Coulibaly decided a foul had taken place and ruled out the goal.
While the disallowed goal ultimately did not affect the USA’s final position in the group, the decision features high in this list for the sheer incomprehensibility of it.
Nobody has been able to spot a definite infringement using replays, while the referee did not explain himself after the match.
One theory is that the referee had decided that his original decision to award the US a free-kick was incorrect and so was determined to blow his whistle as soon as the ball was played.
No. 1: Frank Lampard’s Disallowed Goal—England vs. Germany
It was like 1966 in reverse.
In the World Cup final of that year, England took the lead in overtime when a shot by Geoff Hurst bounced off the underside of the crossbar.
The assistant referee ruled that the ball had crossed the line to fierce protests from West Germany’s defenders.
34 years later, the same two teams were involved in a similar controversy.
After Germany had raced to an early two goal lead, England seemed to have completed a dramatic comeback as halftime approached.
Frank Lampard's shot beat German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and hit the crossbar before landing at least a foot over the line.
Neuer quickly collected the bouncing ball and neither the referee nor his assistant appeared to see that it had crossed the line at all.
No goal was awarded, despite the fact that everyone who was watching in the stadium and around the world on television had seen that the ball was clearly over the goal line.
Everyone, it seemed, except the most important person.