As I sit here between games at my local watering hole, Beef O'Brady's, I thought I would take a few moments to put together some of the other random thoughts after watching Uruguay continue to prove the validity of yesterday's post about Maradona.
Deja Vu: Handball on the Goal Line
With all of the drama centering around the 'phantom' call on the apparent US winner against Slovenia, I think many have missed another moment that was eerily similar to a previous call that proved pivotal for the United States. Australia's Harry Kewell was sent off as they were leading 1-0 against Ghana three days ago, leading to a converted penalty that proved to be the only other score in the 1-1 result.
It was like watching a flashback of the US-Germany contest in the Quarterfinals where Greg Berhalter's redirection of a corner kick was stopped on the line by the loose arm of a German player manning the post, which was not ruled a foul.
Germany No-Call [+]
Kewell Red Card [+]
I completely understand the ball-to-hand part of how the infringement is judged and have no problem with that and the new passive offside rule. What I do have issue with is that 'ball-to-hand' must not be the guideline for goal line (six yard box) situations. Any player who is guarding the post or the immediate vicinity of the goal should be well aware of the handball rule and that they need to be particularly careful. Therefore, there needs to be greater adherence to the rule. In my opinion, in the six yard area or, at the very least, on the goal line, the rule should be that the officials must not be able to see space between the arm and the torso. If this is not the rule, it encourages players to continue to hold their arms out in space in what appears to be a natural position to make themselves bigger defensively, which is against the spirit of the rule. Making this rule adjustment would make the calls easier for the officials and create less debate on whether it was hand-to-ball or ball-to-hand.
How Not to Play with Extra Man
Debate on the Kewell handball aside, Ghana provided an instructional video the rest of the match of how not to play with a man advantage. Despite playing fairly well with good possession and passing, the Black Stars took a baffling number of unnecessary shots from long range when they could have penetrated the Socceroos defense. It was a shocking display as they continued to fire from distance time after time, looking like they were the team playing a man down against a stout defensive side.
Dutch Performance not Good for Dayton
The launch of the Dayton Dutch Lions in the USL Premier Development League has gotten off to good start on the pitch with a 4-1-4 record and the concept of bringing the well-regarded Dutch playing style to the United States is a great idea. The way the Netherlands are playing in the World Cup, however, is not exactly a great advertisement for what the new club is doing in Ohio. Sure, the Netherlands were one of two teams to clinch a spot in the Second Round after two games, but the quality of play has not exactly been all that inspiring. Hopefully, with nothing much on the line Thursday, they will open things up a bit against 0-2 Cameroon.