I’m going to give myself a big fat Phil Rizzuto-esque “WW” for today’s USA-Slovenia match; in fact, the only soccer I saw today was about the first 15 minutes of Germany-Serbia and the last hour of the England-Algeria match (it should be noted that, up until the latter game, I have never cheered more for a scoreless tie in my life). However, after seeing the botched no-goal call on Maurice Edu’s 85th minute shot (which would have put the Yanks over Slovenia with an epic 3-2 comeback), and Gizmodo‘s Jesus Diaz’s post calling for use of greater technology in soccer, I support some things and dislike others.
First of all, let’s face it, that was a goal. There was no offside on the US – not to mention those three Slovenians ahead of Edu were hugging Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey – and let’s be honest, there were fouls on both sides that could have been called.
The Pride of Mali, Koman Coulibaly’s call was further cast into doubt and derision for the fact that, if it was a US foul (and ESPN still doesn’t know what the hell it was), we don’t know who it was on. In short, the US got robbed.
It would certainly help if the US had the benefit of something that the IIHF, hockey’s international organization (of which there are 69 members, including 25 of the 32 nations participating in this Cup) has: instant replay that works. It’s fast, it doesn’t take a great deal of time out of the game, and it is ridiculously accurate – we see it at every Winter Olympics. All four American major leagues have replay – why doesn’t the largest sporting association in the world, FIFA, have it?
The money’s certainly there; FIFA makes billions in sponsorships every year. The staff can definitely be there; just add a 5th official for video replay. It won’t slow down the game long (of course, in games when replay is necessary, 5 or 6 minutes of stoppage time wouldn’t be out of the question). And the technology’s definitely there – for chrissake, 25 of the 64 games are being broadcast in 3D using Sony’s new technology; there should be cameras for replays.
Some in the comments on Giz were saying that “bad calls makes the game passionate”; to which I say, “no, bad calls just make the game bad and a turn-off for new fans.” There is no worse game than a game where the referee makes him- or herself the star. Officiating – especially on the World’s Greatest Stage – should be a thankless but nameless job: just get the job done!
Some of the things that Jesus says (e.g., calling of offsides via triangulation of the ball versus chips in the players boots) are a bit ridiculous, granted, but while this is a time of heat under the collar, this is a very level-headed proposal.