Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Death Penalty (July 4th)

It might sound a little old. Germany is about to face Italy in one of the semifinal matches and I’m still here talking about what could’ve happened last Friday.

Well, I wanted to write this a little bit before but I couldn’t so I hope you understand this and don’t take it like I’m still crying (even though, maybe I am!).

Because I want to talk about Lubos MICHEL and the way he influenced the quarter-final encounter between Argentina and Germany.

First of all, I don’t think he was scandalously one-sided. But in my eyes, there have been a number of dubious calls that inclined the game in Germany’s favour. His tendency to call every little episode in favour of the Germans, made our footballers play conditioned.

I might not list them in chronological order. I’ll throw them here as I remember them.

The first one that comes to my mind is probably the most exemplifier of all. It was a foul he (and only he!) saw from Carlos TEVEZ when the Apache simply touched the ball backwards really near Argentina’s box. It was a very dangerous free-kick for Germany and there was no way in the whole galaxy that was near to be a foul.

The most popular of his infamous calls seems to be the penalty claim we all made when Maxi RODRIGUEZ was brought down by LAHM inside the German box. Yes, MAXI exaggerates his fall a little bit, but there was contact. LAHM touches MAXI with his right leg and a foul should have been called. What would have happened if it was the opposite and a German player was brought down inside Argentina’s box? Would Mr. MICHEL signal a foul if that tackle was anywhere but inside the German box? I think so. Oh yes. Just watch the action and pay attention to the complimentary hand in the back by LAHM to MICHEL in a way of saying: "Way to go, ref. This is exactly what you have to do all day!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGJ6LcujXkE (Thanks Orlin for the link)

When KLOSE charged with his elevated knee against the anatomy of poor ABBONDANZIERI there was a foul called and there is not much more to add to that. Maybe a yellow card would have been an option. Oh…no…I’m sorry…KLOSE is German. No way he was going to see yellow for that action.

And here’s one that really shocked me. Unfortunately the official transmission didn’t show the replay (I wonder why?). But there was a ball falling inside the German box and Michael BALLACK touched it with his hand. A few Argentina players started asking the ref about it, but all their claims fell in deft ears.

There was also contact between AYALA’s arm and BALLACK’s head inside the Argentina box, but I don’t think it was a foul. AYALA was looking the other way. In any case, BALLACK’s exaggerated fall should have been awarded with a yellow card (if the ref thinks it was not a foul). Or didn’t he cautioned MAXI because he thought he dived?

People, before some of you start to send me e-mails questioning my opinions, I would like to point out that ARGENTINA DID NOT LOSE BECAUSE OF LUBOS MICHEL. Make sure you get that straight. We lost because we were incapable of defending a lead and there is no question about it.

This article was just an exercise to let it all out and to give an echo of all the complaints I’ve been receiving about the refereeing of this match.

Hope next time around, we leave no ground to a bad referee and we can win with all justice. Since it looks like the refs in this World Cup are only making justice to keep the usual suspects happy.

Until the next Group of Death, or until the next time you keep Germany from playing Brazil before the dreamt final, dear FIFA!


Joey (A Chinese soccer fan) said...

Look, seba, I have become a loyal fan of yours. I visited your blog several times every day.

A short comment about referee before the semifinal.

First, yes, obviously Arg is the victim of referee's mistakes. Three good goals being whisled off - unimaginable.

But if you are talking about the referee in Arg-Ger, I have to say he is good.

Of course his decisions subtly helped Germans, what else do you expect? You are playing the home country! The referee was good considering all the pressure from 70K crazy German fans.

Have you seen how the referees helped Korean to go to semifinals four years ago? That's the most shameful performance from referees I have ever seen. Compared with those blatantly prejudiced referees, MICHEL is a very good.

Seba said...

You're right about the difference between the refs four years ago helping Korea. That's why I said that Argentina didn't lose because of the ref.

Korea did win because of the ref against both, Italy and Spain.

Im not happy with "What else do you expect? You're playing the home country".

Well, I may be naive but I DO expect a fair refereeing.

Seba said...

Another horrible referee favouring Germany!

The match is still on, but Archundia have signalled a free kick for Germany after a non-existent foul by Cannavaro on Podolski.

Want to laugh? If it was a foul, it should have been a penalty because the action was inside Italy's box.


Ballack and Lahm should have seen yellow for a couple of nasty fouls.

But...no...there's nothing extrange about the refs, Germany and FIFA. I must be crazy!

Seba said...



Grazie Del Piero! Grazie Grosso!

There you go Germany! Keep on waiting for the penalty kicks!

Joey (A Chinese soccer fan) said...

Well, Seba, the referee today is extremely fair. And Italy won superbly! In the last minute! Great Italians! They are going to be champions!

Let me tell you, referee tonight is superb, the best I saw so far. But you don't get such kind of referee every day. Again, MICHEL is good. He is not superb, but he is good. I think referee tonight should whisle the final.

Joey said...

By the way, seba, did you see Podolski on the field tonight? He is only 20. That is, he is only one year older than Messi. Look how Klinsman trusted him, and he played great throughout the tourment to show he is worth the trust. I have no idea why Pekerman didn't trust Messi. I absolutely have no idea why he benched Messi when he actually needed the young genius most. The coach makes the difference, I have to say.

Anonymous said...

I Have to agree with you regarding my dearl ref Mr. Michel.

Coach should have sent the Messi in the field.... no idea why he didn't?

Important qustion......

Why in this entire world...... Argentina had to suffer everytime (1990 world cup.... match against Germany.... what a shame....I hate Germans now)?

1) Because it is not a rich country

2) Because it is not from Europe

I don't know which one to pick .......


Anonymous said...

Hola Guys,

Alwin here from Malaysia. Yes it is pretty obvious referees are ruining most of the games especially when it involves the host. I have to say that Germany do not have a great team and they were getting praises for performances agaisnt weaker opponents before they finally met their match in the Quaters against the Albiceleste. They were lucky that day but not everyday is a Sunday and Thank Italy for bringing back justice to the game. A desrved win for them....and let the German jinx of not being able to beat a "BIG" team continue!!!!

As for our argies, this world cup will be the last for som of them and the first of many for the majority of the squad. That only says that the future is looking bright for us and i really wish Pekerman will reconsider his decision because i belive there is no other person who can mould a gem of young talent that we have better than Senor Pekerman.

Vamos Argentina Forever!!!!

Alwin (alwinlourdes@gmail.com)

subh said...

1stly.. I agree with Seba completely about The referee Michel and also yesterday's referee in the match against Italy.
1stly, let me tell u refereeing in both these matches were OK. and that is it. It wasnt great refereeing.
In both the matches we saw some decisions going in favour for the Germans for no reason whatsoever.
Maxi never gets a yellow card for that, it should have been a penalty. If in 1990, the Germans cud get a penalty for that dive of theirs I am surprised how come Maxi wasnt given a penalty. That was horrific.
Apart from that also, there was lots of tits and bits in which the Germans got away lightly. It may be the reason that referees were taking it lightly after the Portugal-Holland match, but I still can't fathom that if a Host nation is going to enjoy such favouritism from referees as well, then there is nothing worth to watch a game.
I repeat- The referee didnt win German the match, he just tried to make sure they don't lose it.
About what
Rest The germans played for Penalties. The fact that Lehmann had that piece of paper with all Argentinan Players penalty taking histories shows for itself how eagerly the Germans were waiting for the penalties and it was more than evident from their way of play also.
They tried the same thing with Italy also.But Italy wasnt as unlucky as Argentina to lose their Goalie and hence were supremely confident of going to penalties even. A team like Italy which generally doesn't keep possession much and just goes on Counter-attacks mostly kept the lion's share of the possession and they finally made the Germans pay for their gameplan. As a matter of fact, Germans didnt have the quality that most of the other teams have. The germans were outplayed in all departments by teh Italy by their supreme defence and well equipped midfield.
This thing about host nation has to stop. whatever be the reason, crowd, FIFA or whatever, but this has to stop.
Rather if it has to be that way, then Make the world cup spread over a complete year (just like the Champions league or the qualifiers) and play home and away matches.
Comeon, this simply can't go on.
"Of course his decisions subtly helped Germans, what else do you expect? You are playing the home country! The referee was good considering all the pressure from 70K crazy German fans." ------- On this I will say ofcourse I expect more. I do expect a fair referee and not someone who cant handle the pressure. He is referee doing his job in a world stage, he is there simply because he is thought of as a capable referee. And a capable referee must be fair and able to handle whatever pressures.. Otherwise even I could go on and do the job of the referee. when the best teams in the world r competing, GOOD is never enough, the referees shoudl also be the best.
Seba- Post some web-links of Soccer News from argentina from the Argentina Media or elsewhere maybe. I can't track what is happening there with pekerman and others.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick to see another great ARG squad bowed out from the WC, not because we are the lesser team, but because some bonehead decision from above.
Penkerman is a coward.
There is no way we could lose that game if we pushed on and keep the pressure on the Germany.
France showed Arg how to play with a lead... with a killer instinct.
There is only one way to play this game if one has a better team... run the score, destroy your opponent, take no satisfaction with 1-0 lead.
Penkerman instead settled for a tight battle with the host, and he lost.
I don't care how much he contributed for the youth squad. He has no gut and is a terrible tactician.
When he has the best talent in the world and choose to settle for mediocrity and lost, he didn't do his job.
This man must be fired... no question here.

subh (india) said...

Firing Pekerman will not achieve anything. accepted he may have made a mistake but then had his strategy clicked, he would have been hailed a genius.
2ndly, for whatever he has achieved and also shown his capability, he deserves another chance with this team. I strongly feel he has learnt from his mistakes.
We may be upset today but we need not hunt and find someone to take all the blaim for and hang him for that. Looking ahead, on the basis of capability, professionalism and vision, Pekerman is a very wise choice for the future of Argentina. For a mistake we must not overlook his capabilities.
I still feel pekerman has a lot to give back to Argentine Soccer.
Pls back him and let me tell u, the respect and pride of Argentine Soccer which it claims at this time all over the world (in India, China, Israel, england etc etc) is primarily due to the brand of Football Argentine team playedin this WC. All over the world, Peple will respect Argentine Socccer more due to this year's performance and Pekerman than They will remember Bilardo under whom Argentina last reached the maximum in the WCs.
Ofcourse we are upset and sad but we shouldnt let that get over rationality of the situation. Emotions may run high but we mustn't make teh same mistake which probably Pekerman himself did in that suituation of high pressure.

Joey said...

Seba, why don't you write an article about defense line?

After I watched the semifinal I have to admit that Italy are more worthy champions than Argentina. Use German as a comparison. German played its worst match against Arg but Arg couldn't beat German in 120 minutes. German played a lot better last night but Italy punched them in the last two minutes.

I think the difference between Arg and Italy is the defense. Arg has the best offense but Italy has the best defense. In the world cup elimination phase, you simply couldn't advance without a strong defense line.

I just saw the video of Arg-Mexico. If you are honest you have to admit Arg defenders were horrible that night. No 13 (what's his name?) is the worst defender I have ever seen.

If Arg couldn't build the best defense line in future, then forget it. You are not going to win world cup in 2010.

The whole world knows that you will have Messi, Terez, and Aimar four years later. But can you tell me who you will have in the defense line?

Seba said...

Soon Joey, very soon I'll write about our defense and our prospects for 2010.

Just for the record, Pekerman resigned, he was not fired. One of the reasons he mentioned was the fact that he thinks he did his best and that was not enough so it's time to move on.

Well...I still don't want him to go. It looks difficult but we've got to wait anyway.

And a little something about Italy and Germany. There is a history between the two and I think Germany respects Italy a little bit more than they respect Argentina because they were never able to beat Italy in a World Cup! 3 loses and 2 draws. I think that has to count.

I do agree about having a great defense and Italy have the best in the World. But they only won the match when they put three attackers (GILARDINO-IAQUINTA-DEL PIERO) plus TOTTI.

They wanted to escape the penalty shootout and so they went for the goal. But still...don't forget the first goal came just after a corner kick and the second was a product of Germany's desperation (they never went forward like in that action before in this World Cup).

And number 13 you were talking about is Lionel SCALONI.

Anonymous said...

stop crying!!! Argentina didnt loose because of the referee or because being outcoached ! thay lost because their goalie sucked in the penalty shots and their players kicking penalties sucked !! thats all!! everyone in the restaurant was laughing at how classless and ignorant your team acted afterwards nobody was surprised tho thats how they have been acting for decades crying and fighting when they loose ! they should be SUSPENDED for the 2010 world cup !!!

subh said...

Mr.Anonymous, I dont know who u r,but just to make things clear, learn to play like a Messi or a maradona or a Tevez or even just a Saviola.
A team which plays the last 30 mins of extra time just to somehow reach the penalties (which germans did even with Italy and werent 2nd time lucky) shudnt actually try and gather praise on penalty taking skills. Its not abt bad refereeeing, its abt Germans being damn lucky to commit that foul and not concede the penalty (watch the replays).
If you r so happy with just the penalty taking skills, be happy abt that and content abt that, but let me tell u, every day wont be ur sunday

Anonymous said...

maradona? por favor! maradona aint nothing but a washed up drug addict with a 30 million debt! hes been on drugs all his carreer, so stop putting him on a pedestal hes no role model hes trash !! and im not just happy with the penalty kicks! im just HAPPY argentina LOST PERIOD ! doesnt matter to me how it happened!!!!!

Seba said...

I'm not moderating the comments.

I won't start any argument with nobody.

Just don't do it yourselves.

Everybody has the right to comment on whatever they want and I expect everyone to respect each other.

If you don't agree with what somebody has to say, then just say it with respect without calling names to nobody.

And if you think a message is not worthy, then don't reply and avoid any ugly argument.

Joey said...

I am sorry.

I lost my temper.

Please delete my previous message.


Forza Batigol said...

Someone posted a msg regarding the secret note that was passed to Lehmann before the penalty shoot out.
(let me know if unable to view)

The sequence of the players to take the penalty turned out to be exactly what happened..can someone explain/comment on this? I do not know how true this note can be but if it is true, how did the info get into German's hand?? Pls comment.

Anonymous said...

that is so Weird!, i have seen the letter and it has the stamb of Schlosshotel which is in Berlin. something very bad is going on, i have a huge Suspicion but i dont want to let it out.

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