Tag Archives: tevez

Technology debate rekindled in wake of questionable decisions

Two World Cup matches, two flashpoints. The widespread acclaim that greeted the referees at the outset of the 2010 World Cup has well and truly evaporated by now.

This World Cup has seen its share of controversial decisions. Having come back from a two goal deficit, the United States were wrongly denied a winner by referee Koman Coulibaly. The Malian official ruled out Michael Bradley’s late goal for a foul. Video technology would have revealed that no infringement took place in the Slovenian penalty area.

Kaká, one of the stars of world football, was dismissed for an apparent elbow against Côte d’Ivoire. Television replays revealed that Sebastien Lannoy was deceived by the Ivorian winger, Kader Keita. Kaká was suspended as a result of the incorrect decision.

The events of Sunday, June 27 will be impossible to forget for fans of England and Mexico. Frank Lampard’s legitimate goal against Germany, which may have had a profound effect on the outcome, was not given. A simple television replay would have given the referee the information required to make an informed decision. Goal-line technology has long been advocated by a large number of managers at both club and international level. A system similar to the famous Hawkeye technology  used in cricket and tennis matches could be utilised to great effect by FIFA. For some, the solutions are even simpler. Mark Ogden, The Daily Telegraph’s Northern Football Correspondent, shared a rudimentary, yet effective, idea via his Twitter page.

“Sandpit behind the line. If the ball is in, it will stop dead and won’t bounce. Simple.”

The suggestion initially seems laughable. On second look, it appears more sensible than ridiculous. In any case, it marks a marked improvement on incorrect or unfair decisions.

Sepp Blatter’s repeated rejection of calls for television replays are folly. Blatter, who once remarked that “we must never stop the match with videos or monitors to look at what has happened”, is clearly not a fan of other sports. Almost every other major sport has some form of “video referee”. In American football, coaches are given flags. In cases where a questionable decision is made by a the referees or umpires, the coach may throw one of his limited number of challenge flags onto the field and call for the referee’s decision to be ‘sent to the booth’. The match referee then consults the video replay and reevaluates his previous decision.

The apparent infallibility of referees in association football is misguided. As Carlos Tevez wheeled away in jubilation at having scored the opening goal in the Round of 16 match against Mexico, replays on the scoreboard at Soccer City showed how the Argentine was offside when Lionel Messi played the crucial assist to him. The fans, players, coaching staff and officials were instantly given access to a view at what had actually occurred. Mexico’s players were particularly incensed. They, rightly, angrily confronted Roberto Rosetti and his assistant. Having seen their mistake, the officials should have been given the authority to reverse the  decision. They were unable to do this. Mexico, demoralised by the goal, promptly conceded a second through a defensive error which may or may not have been the result of a lapse in concentration stemming from the earlier refereeing error.

The safety and welfare of referees is threatened by their inability to correct their mistakes. Referees have been targeted by tabloid campaigns and, far more worryingly, death threats. In the interest of fairness and in the interest of safety for their referees, FIFA must take positive action towards implementing corrective technology no matter what form that may take.

Albiceleste turn on the style to humble South Korea 4-1

The College View’s News Editor, Niall Farrell, witnessed Argentina produce one of the best performances seen so far in this World Cup. Diego Maradona’s side defeated South Korea 4-1 at the Soccer City stadium, Johannesburg.


From the outset, Argentina were firmly on the attack. The first real chance came after eight minutes, but Gonzalo Higuain’s fluffed shot drifted harmlessly over.

Within twenty minutes, Argentina had opened the scoring. A crossed ball was diverted into the South Korean net by Park Chu-Yung ahead of the on-rushing Martin Demichelis.

South Korea aimed to peg Argentina back immediately, as Ki Sung-Yeung shot narrowly over the Argentinean goal on the counter-attack.

Argentina’s accurate passing ensured that the Koreans didn’t have the ball for long though. Ángel Di María and Lionel Messi made probing runs down the flanks.

A free-kick from Carlos Tévez on twenty-eight minutes almost yielded a second goal for Argentina. Tévez struck a fine free-kick just inches over the crossbar.

The South Koreans had two more chances before the half-hour mark from Beom Seok-Oh and Chung Yong-Lee but neither came to any avail.

The attacking tactic employed by Argentina bore further fruits as Gonzalo Higuaín scored the second goal on thirty-three minutes.A free-kick on the left side of the South Korean penalty area was drifted in by Maxi Rodriguez, and Higuain at the far post was left to simply head the ball past Jung Sung-Ryong in goal for South Korea.

Five minutes before half time, Ángel Di María had a chance for a third Argentinean goal. After goalkeeper Jung could only parry a cross, Di María was left with the ball at his feet just ten yards from goal. The Benfica winger aimed the shot at the top-right corner of the Korean goal, but Jung pulled off an outstanding save to deny the Benfica winger his goal.

Just before the break, Lionel Messi almost scored what would have been one of the goals of the tournament. A superb run and pass from Carlos Tévez let Messi in to turn inside a defender and attempt an audacious chip on Jung from outside the box that fell just wide and over.

It looked like Argentina would be in a completely dominant position going into the second half, but a shock goal from South Korea on the stroke of half time put them back in contention.

Following a back-pass to Martin Demichelis that looked easy enough to deal with, Lee Chung-Young managed to steal the ball from the Bayern Munich defender after Demichelis took a bad first touch.

All that remained was an easy finish for Lee as he slotted the ball past Sergio Romero to make it 2-1.

The second half continued at the same high tempo, with Argentina aiming to play a more expansive game than they had before.

Lionel Messi had a half-chance directly after half time, as he dribbled his way into the box only to see his shot deflect away.

South Korean ‘keeper Jung had to pull off another outstanding save after a flowing trio of passes let Gonzalo Higuaín crack a close-range shot at the goal after fifty-two minutes.

A minute later Carlos Tévez cut inside from the left and blasted a low dipping shot at goal for Jung to save again.

Ki-Hung Yeom had a fantastic chance on fifty-seven minutes as South Korea began to break forward with more gusto. Yeom got on the end of the last in a series of quick Korean passes but could only shoot into the side-netting from an awkward angle. Both teams really started to play a more daring game after the hour mark. South Korea were on the lookout for a killer pass to find the equaliser but just weren’t lucky enough for the passes to connect.

The seventy-sixth minute saw a flurry of action, as a South Korean attack let Argentina counter and grab their third goal. Substitute Sergio Agüero released Lionel Messi, who streamed down the left flank and ghosted past two defenders before shooting.

Messi’s shot deflected right into the path of Higuaín, who only had to tap the ball into the net for his second goal.

Four minutes later, a similar move found Messi again on the left side of the Korean goal and Higuaín waiting at the far post. Messi chipped beautifully over the heads of the Korean defence for Higuaín to head in for his hat-trick.

Argentina closed out the game with yet more attacks, their attacking brilliance was a joy to watch. The Republic of Korea may look back and rue Ki-Hung Yeom’s missed opportunity early in the second half, the potential equaliser may well have changed the game.

The Albiceleste will secure qualification to the Round of 16 if Greece are defeated by Nigeria this afternoon. For South Korea, their World Cup future will now depend on finding a result against the Super Eagles on June 22.


More at nfsport.wordpress.com

Enyeama shines but cannot prevent Argentina victory

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

Argentina’s quest to add to their World Cup victories in 1978 and 1986 got off to an ideal start with a victory against Nigeria. It was a frustrating display by the Albiceleste who outplayed the Super Eagles but were repeatedly thwarted by the efforts of Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Enyeama produced several astonishing saves from a barrage of efforts from La Liga duo Gonzalo Higuaín and Lionel Messi, who shone on the World Cup stage. Coach Diego Maradona created a stir before the kick-off, naming a starting eleven featuring a front trio of Higuaín, Messi and Carlos Tevez. Jonás Gutierrez, the Newcastle United winger was named as the starting right-back.

The scene for today’s victory was Ellis Park, Johannesburg. The iconic stadium was the setting for scenes of great national unity for South Africa when Francois Pienaar was presented the Rugby World Cup by Nelson Mandela in 1995. Maradona’s Argentina looked suitably united for the stadium, as the Albiceleste seemed relaxed and jocular in the tunnel before the game. Any reports of unease within the Argentine camp appeared to be grossly exaggerated.

Argentina began brightly, Messi sparkling as he evaded the challenges of Nigerian defenders before curling a shot towards the top corner, forcing a sensational stop from Enyeama. Nigeria coach Lars Lagerbäck, whose Swedish sides were traditionally well versed in the art of defending set pieces, will have cursed his team’s defending from the ensuing corner. Juan Seba Verón’s cross finding Gabriel Heinze unmarked. The former Manchester United defender producing a marvellous header from deep to give Argentina the lead in the sixth minute.

Argentina looked supreme in possession but were not as convincing when forced to chase Nigeria. Jonás Gutierrez’s unfamiliarity with the right-back role was exposed recurrently by Ogbuke Obasi and Victor Obinna.

In spite of this defensive uncertainty, Argentina were unrelenting in their attempts to earn a second goal. The midfield, marshalled by captain Javier Mascherano and guided by Verón, were in fine form as they slowly created opportunities for the front three to flourish.

Messi brought more saves from Enyeama before Gonzalo Higuaín had perhaps the best chance of the first half, a beautifully weighted pass from Carlitos Tevez setting the Real Madrid striker through on goal. Higuaín was unable to beat Enyeama however and once more Argentina were thwarted before half-time.

Enyeama’s efforts will have undoubtedly attracted the attention of the many managers from Europe’s preeminent leagues who were in attendance at today’s game.

The early second half was paced almost identically to the first. Messi, at the heart of every chance created by his country, caught Taiwo out with a precise rolled pass to Verón who returned the ball expertly to his compatriot. Man of the match Enyeama once again rescuing his country with a fine save.

Lagerbäck’s side desperately needed an injection of verve. It looked to have come in the 51st minute when Vfl Wolfsburg’s Obafemi Martins replaced the persistently obstructed Victor Obinna. Nigeria admirably attempted to fight their way back into contention but failed to create meaningful opportunities as cross after cross sailed harmlessly through the penalty area.

The brilliant Verón was replaced by Maxi in the 73rd minute, Maradona perhaps seeking to bring some cover for Gutierrez on the right. Argentina continued to threaten but were incapable of finding away past Enyeama, whose display was surely the best seen in this year’s competition thus far.

The Super Eagles’ best chance at an undeserved draw came in the final ten minutes. A magnificent cross was pulled behind the aligned Argentine defenders. Unfortunately for Icechukwu Uche the ball bounced uncomfortably in front of him preventing him from finding the target.

As they match drew towards its conclusion Argentina failed to keep control of the football, with some reckless passing allowing Nigeria to break forward. Nigeria’s valiant efforts came to nothing as the Albiceleste held on to secure what could be a vital opening victory. They finish the day behind the Republic of Korea on goal difference, with the game between the two sides on the 17th of June poised to decide the winner of the group.

For Lars Lagerbäck there is much work to be done. He may take solace from the inspiring efforts of his goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama. If he can coax performances of similar quality from his outfield players then their World Cup journey may not be over yet.

Argentina’s 23 man squad

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Mariano Andújar, Diego Pozo

Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Heinze, Nicolas Burdisso, Walter Samuel, Ariel Garce, Clemente Rodríguez, Martin Demichelis

Midfielders: Juan Sebastian Verón, Javier Mascherano, Jonas Gutierrez, Angel Dí María, Maxi Rodriguez, Javier Pastore, Mario Bolatti

Forwards: Diego Milito, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Agüero, Martín Palermo

Argentina’s Provisional Squad Announced

Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona has shocked the world with his latest squad announcement. The former World Player of the Year has decided against bringing Champions League finalists Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti as well as Lucho Gonzalez of Olympique de Marseille, Gabriel Milito of Barcelona and Fernando Gago of Real Madrid.

Maradona has not included the Internazionale duo in any of his selections prior to the provisional squad announcement yesterday, but it was hoped that their impeccable club form would be good enough for them to command a place in the final squad.

Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez were both selected by Maradona, despite not playing in any of Europe’s marquee leagues this past season.

Argentina’s domestic league is surprisingly well represented in the squad, with ten players making the preliminary squad.

The controversy is set to continue. Internazionale striker Diego Milito is rumoured to be sure of missing the cut for the final squad in favour of 36 year old, Martín Palermo.

Goalkeepers Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Diego Pozo (Colon)

Defenders Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield), Martin Demichelis (Bayern München), Walter Samuel (Internazionale), Gabriel Heinze (Marseille), Nicolas Burdisso (AS Roma), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Ariel Garce (Colon), Juan Insaurralde (Newell’s Old Boys), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes)

Midfielders Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United), Juan Sebastien Verón (Estudiantes), Jose Sosa (Estudiantes), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Ángel Di María (Benfica), Javier Pastore (Palermo), Sebastian Blanco (Lanus), Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool), Juan Mercier (Argentinos), Jesús Datolo (Olympiakos), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina)

Forwards Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Diego Milito (Internazionale), Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid), Martín Palermo (Boca Juniors), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)