USA vs. Slovenia 2010 World Cup: A Closer Look at the Referee's Decisions

Snide CommentsCorrespondent IJune 18, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18: Referee Koman Coulibaly breaks up a disagreement after a challenge between Zlatan Ljubijankic of Slovenia and Clint Dempsey of the United States left Ljubijankic injured during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between Slovenia and USA at Ellis Park Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In what was the most dramatic game yet of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the officials tainted the game with wrong calls.

This game would have marked one of the greatest comebacks in United States men's football history.

The most important of them of all was the late goal scored off a Landon Donovan free-kick by Maurice Edu that would have been the winner.

The match had bright spots all through, especially with the goals by Valter Bisra, Landon Donovan and the half volley by Michael Bradley.

The referee had a nightmarish game. Lets take an in-depth look at his calls.

Slovenia's Second Goal

Zlatan Ljubijankic grabbed an important second goal for the Slovenians from what seemed to be an offside position.

When the replays were shown in slow motion and close-up, Oguchi Onyewu was actually the last player, and therefore played him onside.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Precise passing from Novakovic led to the goal.

Robbie Finley's Booking

It was supposed to be for an intentional handball in the box. How is that possible when it didn't even touch any part of his arm?

With the outrageous booking, Finley misses the next match against Algeria, a game where his pace would have been crucial.

Last Man Tackle On Altidore

The tackle by Marko Suller on Jozy Altidore produced a yellow card from the Malian referee.

Many will argue that he (Altidore) wasn't in possession of the ball and was heading away from goal, but you never know what Altidore would have done.

He was clearly impeded by the last man from a scoring chance—yes, a scoring chance—because he clearly beat Suller to the ball.

A definite red card for the Slovenian defender.

Offside, Foul and a Goal Denied For No Reason

No one will really know what went through the mind of the referee after the free-kick from Donovan was taken, it looked like an offside call on Michael Bradley, but he wasn't in play when Maurice Edu finished nicely.

Another possibility was that from the referee's angle, he saw a foul by Bradley which ruled out the goal.

Yes, that is a possibility and without the use of replay analysis the goal was canceled.

When the replay was shown, allowing the goal by Maurice Edu or awarding a penalty for the foul on Bradley were the only legitimate rulings.

The ref, Koman Coulibaly, was horrible overall and made a mess of key calls.

This result should not result in the US's elimination, because a win against Algeria coupled with England beating Slovenia will see the US through with five points.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!