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Alberto P. Abreus

Bob, I am truly surprised you were fooled by Kaka. He looks as innocent as a choir boy, but let me assure you he is not. He sought retribution for the fouls committed against him earlier and gave it as good as he got it. The fun started approximately at the 70 minute mark when Kaka was fouled hard from behind. Later he and an Ivory Coast player each mugged each other with Kaka playfully stepping with the front of his cleat into the Achilles of the same IC player. Nice move Kaka. Hoped the referee would see that heh. I don't know if he was booked for that action or the continuing talk where he clapped his hands inches from the face of the same IC player. Kaka was correctly judged to have committed a second cautionable offense. Bob did you not see Kaka, purposely jab his elbow into the sternum of the Ivory Coast player? Granted that same IC player grabbed his face and fell down like a ton of bricks hit him ala Rivaldo, and should have been booked for bringing the game into disrepute or simulation, take your pick, but Kaka committed a cautionable offense. Kaka gave it as good if not better than he got it. It wasn't me, that's what kaka would have you believe. He is the passive aggressive player that when you aren't looking slaps the opponent in the face and says who me?

I agree with everything else you said regarding Lannoy losing control. He first lost control when he allowed Lucio early in the first half to point his finger at him because of a disagreement in a foul call. Lucio did not like a foul call on him, while Drogba was clearly to this referee interferring with Lucio's ability to play the ball deep in Brasil's defensive third. Lannoy's failure to sanction Lucio, and later to allow Lucio to stick his point finger in the referee's chest was a bad sign. A player does that to me he visits the shower early. But it never would have reached that point, for I would have cautioned him for the yelling and finger pointing.

I agree on the other points of your blog post. The handling on Fabiano's goal was criminal. Lannoy smiling and laughing with Fabiano, when he questioned if he had handled was bizzarre too. Clearly, Lannoy should have sanctioned the negative challenges by the Ivory Coast in the last 20 minutes of the match. The fourth official should have reeled in Dunga, and if he was unresponsive, should have asked Lannoy to dismiss him from the technical area. Dunga was out of control and contributed to the chaos in the match.

[I didn't have the opportunity to review all the incidents with replay and slo-mo, so I won't challenge your observations, except to say that if Kaka's opponent hadn't dramatically fallen with his hands over his face, the incident would have passed unnoticed. Be that as it may, your comment (and others) have inspired me to write some paragraphs about "context" and the "story of a game", which combined allow a referee to anticipate a growing storm. That's what this referee missed. Thanks, Bob]


Ed, I think you nailed it here. In my opinion, the game has been really ugly for some time. FIFA seems oblivious and hasn't changed a thing.

The Kaka incident reminded me of this one by Rivaldo:

Michelle Maloney

Less talking, more whistles! If the referee doesn't back up his "threats" or entreaties with action, the players will blow him off. The commentary is most enjoyable! Thanks.


In some ways, I was more disappointed in this match than in the USA/Slovenia affair. From my vantage point, the USA/Slovenia referee looked like a fish out of water, in way over his head. In this match, the referee seemed to have presence, but lacked the ability to do the right thing when presented with a foul.

This referee seemed to try to "man-manage" everything in the match, without success. If he would have come down harder on the early reckless (and dangerous) tackles and fouls, he might have been able to control the match better (IMHO).


Mr. Evans, I did not expect to be questioning your wisdom on two fouls, much less in one game, much less in the world cup, but I will try:

On the foul that got Elano injured, the Ivory Coast player was dribbling, and Elano initiated a rather clumsy tackle -- it's clear in the videos that his leg was more or less entirely over the ball, and it wasn't his foot that made contact with the ball but his shins. If the Ivory Coast player continued his natural run, he would've probably broken his tibia/fibula from the contact. He did, however, run towards the ball and Elano in what looks like a very awkward and unnatural way, stepping on Elano's shin. Foul? Certainly. Caution? Certainly. A send-off? I am not sure. In fact, I am surprised that Elano wasn't cautioned as well for an entirely reckless tackle. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebM949PVwdc

For Kaka's red card, if you watch this video:
it appears that the Ivory Coast player had his eyes on the play (ball) as he was moving towards Kaka, whose elbow can be seen swinging into the Ivorian.
I think that is certainly worthy of a caution (regardless of whether the Ivory Coast player exaggerated the severity/location of the injury), and I don't see how Kaka can be called "innocent" here.

David Barra

Unless and until FIFA starts punishing players for simulation, even simulation that is yellow carded in a match, it will not end. Review of game video that reveals simulation needs to occur and players need to be punished. Until that happens, it will continue because players know the risks of any serious consequence are low.

Max Sands

Verbal communication with players did not work in the first few minutes, and with no bookings in spite of the 15 or so fouls in 30' of play (in 18' of active ball), indicated to a remote viewer like me that it was time to change tack.
However, as claimed by other officials, with dozen or so decisions per minute, it is not always possible to get that 900th critical decision correct. And this is what takes the wind out of the sails for the trailing team and becomes a slap in the face of the 85000 or so attendees at the stadium.
Here's wishing the bigwigs read your coverage and thoughts.

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