WORLD CUP FOOTBALL: 4-1 but scores are even – thoroughly thrashed as they ought to be due to unplanned historical foresight ?!!
(Photo caption: A shot by England’s Frank Lampard (unseen in AFP picture, left) beats the German goalkeeper and hits the bar before dropping well inside the goal and bouncing out. A refereeing error denies England the goal, which would have drawn them level at 2-2 (the part of the netting obstructing the view of the goal-line has been airbrushed out to make it clear that the ball had crossed the line). If England, who lost 4-1, feel they were robbed, the Germans will point to the 1966 World Cup final. Then, with the two sides locked 2-2 in extra time, a shot by England’s Geoff Hurst hit the bar and appeared to drop on the line (file picture, right) but the goal was awarded and England went on to win 4-2.)
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY KIER RADNEDGE
June 27, 2010: The first time this writer saw a “live” match between England and Germany — West Germany as we termed them then — was the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley.
Franz Beckenbauer, looking back, once told me: “By comparison with how it is now, the way everything was then was almost amateur. I was new in the German squad at the 1966 World Cup and when we had a press conference it was in a little school hall with maybe 10 journalists. Now, for a press conference you need a proper theatre and translation and room for television crews. It’s like a different world.”
Different world, maybe, same World Cup. Everything has changed and nothing has changed.
Here and now as it was back then: a controversial “goal that wasn’t” incident and the winning team scoring four goals. In the 1966 World Cup final, England benefited from the sharp eyesight of Azeri linesman Tofik Bakhramov. But he is long dead. Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda lacks the necessary peripheral vision.
Thus Geoff Hurst benefited, on his way to a World Cup-winning hat-trick in 1966, and Frank Lampard lost out in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
That was not all. Less than five hours later, Italian referee Roberto Rosetti and one of his assistants committed a further major blunder by allowing Argentina’s first goal against Mexico when Carlos Tevez had been clearly offside and interfering with play ahead of Leo Messi’s forward pass.
The Mexicans lost their composure so entirely that, five minutes later, a lack of concentration presented Argentina with a second goal.
But Mexico manager Javier Aguirre could say, as had England’s Fabio Capello earlier, that the blunder changed the course not only of the moment but of the entire pattern of the game.
Little more than 24 hours before England-Germany, I heard Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, say that a major refereeing blunder was the incident that the federation had feared most.
Make that, now, incidents, plural. The world saw several in the group stage but, in the group stage, teams have three matches to balance out good and bad luck. In the knockout stage it’s all or nothing: no second chances.
It should have been significant that Blatter was in the crowd to see the latest demonstration of why the world game needs to embrace video technology.
The law-making International Board, whose eight representatives are split 4-4 between world federation Fifa and the British home nations, has toyed with video-tracking proposals for several years but mothballed the idea.
Instead, it has sanctioned an extended experiment with the additional assistant behind each goal after the system was tried, to mixed reaction, this past season in the Uefa Europa League.
Blatter has always insisted that human error should remain a feature of the game and that football should be run by the same laws and regulations in the World Cup as in any local amateur pub league. But the top tennis tournaments use hawk-eye technology on service lines which is not available to amateur players, so that argument is specious.
Secondly, Blatter objects that football is a perpetual motion game which would be spoiled by occasional consultations with a video referee. But this “perpetual motion” is being consistently undermined at this World Cup both legally and illegally — by players being substituted and by players feigning injury. No difference here either.
Finally, Fifa fears that if the game permits goal-line technology, it will be impossible to resist the introduction of video replays for “judgement” incidents such as offsides and penalty awards.
Of course, a myriad other issues swirled around the final whistle in Bloemfontein and Soccer City: Should Germany — ever present in at least the quarters ever since 1954 — be considered serious contenders to win the World Cup? When will Messi score a goal? Can Maradona emulate Beckenbauer as a World Cup-winning captain, then manager? And will two-goal Thomas Muller turn out to emulate the achievements of the great Gerd Muller?
All these will help distract attention from Blatter’s blinkers. But his greatest slice of good fortune was probably that Germany and Argentina both went on to win clearly and decisively: just think, if both had gone to a penalty shootout…