World Soccer 2010/2011: Ten Most Controversial Moments

Will J BakerCorrespondent IIIMay 2, 2011

World Soccer 2010/2011: Ten Most Controversial Moments

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    After another weekend in which poor decisions could heavily impact the teams involved, football writers are clamoring for goal-line technology.

    This adds to a season of controversies where ridiculous decisions have been made, managers have lost their cool and players have disgraced themselves both on and off the pitch.

    But these controversies are what continually make football interesting to the casual fan. The "Beautiful Game" has never lacked for talking points, and this season has been no exception.

    Here are the 10 moments that caused the most angst and anger in the footballing world.

    I have chosen not to include the Andy Gray-Richard Keys sexism row as I don't think it was football related.  

10. Frank Lampard's Ghost Goal Against Tottenham

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    Chelsea kept the title race wide open with a somewhat lucky win over Tottenham last Saturday. Not only was Kalou's winner shown by numerous replays to be offside, but the equalizer from Frank Lampard did not cross the line.

    Some will say that justice has now been served from the World Cup, when Lampard scored a clear goal against Germany that wasn't given, but Spurs fans will disagree.

    Lampard's shot was horrendously fumbled by Heurelho Gomes, but the whole ball did not cross the line and the referee's assistant was in no position to give the goal.

    This is the latest in the series of goal-line controversies that has, once again, sparked the fierce debate concerning the use of technology in football. 

9. Nemanja Vidic Gets Away with Blatant Handball Against Arsenal

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    Here is another piece of action from this weekend, in the Barclay's Premier League, that could have huge connotations for the title race.

    It would have been even more of a talking point if Arsenal had not gone on to win the match. But if the correct decision had been made, Vidic would have been sent off and forced to miss the crucial clash with Chelsea next weekend.

    The Manchester United captain, who performed a similar stunt in the World Cup, resulting in a red card, jumped for the ball with outstretched arms flicking it away from Van Persie who was waiting to head it home.

    This is not the first time that United have got the benefit of the doubt, nor is it the first time that Vidic has been lucky to evade a red card this season.

8. Sir Alex Ferguson's Latest Rant

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    The latest in a series of hypocritical rants from the most successful manager in recent history saw him verbally attack officials after he felt his team had been mistreated against Chelsea.

    Ferguson has a history of criticizing officials and subsequent touchline bans, yet he never manages to acknowledge the fact that, more often than not, it is the Red Devils who are given the rub of the green.

    The two decisions that he complained about were a soft penalty given to the Blues after a challenge on Yury Zhirkov, and a challenge from David Luiz that he felt warranted a second bookable offence.

    Regardless of whether these decisions were correct, Ferguson is experienced enough to know that he cannot act like this without suffering consequences.

7. De Jong Horror Tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa

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    The combative Manchester City man made his mark on the World Cup Final with a rib-breaking challenge on Xabil Alonso that would have been better suited to a karate match.

    The Dutchman continued to make headlines with his tough tackling approach and somehow managed to escape a booking while Ben Arfa was stretchered off and in need of oxygen.

    This ended the season prematurely for the Frenchman, on loan from Marseilles, who suffered a badly broken leg. His hometown club even considered legal action against De Jong.

    The holding midfielder was heavily criticized and was even left off the Dutch squad as a direct result of the tackle.

6. Wayne Rooney Swears into the Camera

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    After scoring a hat trick against West Ham, Wayne Rooney once again showed his inefficiencies as a role model by swearing into the camera on national television.

    Rooney was given a light reprieve, escaping with a two match ban. But this is not the first time that "Wazza" has angered fans by speaking into the camera.

    He delivered a verbal tirade to England fans at the World Cup after a dismal scoreless draw with Algeria.

5. Robin Van Persie Sent off Against Barcelona

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    Controversy reigned at the Nou Camp when Robin Van Persie was sent off in the Champions League Quarter Final for the most pedantic of second bookable offences.

    Put clean through on goal, the Dutch maestro did not hear the referee's whistle signalling an offside decision and played on.

    The referee judged that Van Persie, already on booking, had deliberately kicked the ball away.

    This did not cost Arsenal the tie as they were already under severe pressure, but it gave Wenger's men no opportunity to chase the game as they continued without a striker on the pitch. 

4. Pepe Sending off Against Barcelona

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    Tempers are always ready to flare in the white-hot atmosphere of the El Clasico matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    It only takes a spark for the entire ground to ignite and, in the Champions League Semi-final, it was the outrageous sending off of Pepe for a seemingly fair challenge that created serious controversy.

    The ball was there to be won and the Portuguese ball-winner committed himself to a full-blooded challenge, leaving Dani Alves writhing on the ground in pain.

    Alves was taken off on a stretcher only to come back in the next play.

    This cost Madrid dearly as their game plan was compromised and two Messi gems ment that no one has given them a chance in their second leg tie at the Nou Camp.

3. Ashley Cole Shooting Incident

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    The Chelsea and England left back is never far from controversy, and his latest misdeed was even more farcical than usual.

    Not only did he illegally bring an air rifle to training but he accidentally fired it, injuring an intern at the Cobham training ground.

    Cole was lucky to escape without serious disciplinary action, but for a few weeks the football world was calling for his head.

2. Mourinho Loses His Head

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    After the previously mentioned Pepe sending off in the Champions League El Clasico clash, Jose Mourinho lost his cool in astronomical fashion.

    The "Special One," who has never strayed too far from controversy in his illustrious career, spoke of the disgraceful preferential treatment afforded to Barcelona.

    He also said that Pep Guardiola's team should be "ashamed" to advance to the Final in this way.

    Mourinho will be severely disciplined bu UEFA and, according to Jose, if he had said everything that was on his mind then his career would be over.

1. World Cup Awarded to Quatar in 2022

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    The incredible decision of FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to Quatar was met with shock and disgust from most of the footballing world.

    With many better candidates (including England), who were possibly overlooked as they exposed the corrupt nature of football's governing body in a documentary, the decision seemed bizarre.

    Not only is Quatar classified as a medium risk country but their national team has never qualified for the finals or achieved any footballing recognition.

    They have effectively bought their way into football's most prestigious competition, and it is now revealed that the summer conditions will be impossible to play in.

    The likelihood of a winter World Cup has added to many fans' dismay at the latest controversial ruling associated with Sepp Blatter.