Saturday’s referees reviewed
Two very close games means refereeing decisions can sometimes be the difference between victory and defeat. Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk certainly feels his team were unfairly treated. But is he right?
Yellow cards: S Poulsen, Kvist (Denmark) Van Bommel (Netherlands)
Red cards: 0
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
The last time the Dutch played at an international tournment, they broke the record for the number of cards in a World Cup final. This time they were a little bit better behaved but just on that occasion, their head coach had something to say to the officials after the game.
Referee Skomina did blow for some rather soft free-kicks in the early stages for example when vintage winger Dennis Rommedahl went under a challenge after 20 minutes.
But by in large he controlled the game well, stepping in when he had to but trying to let play go on where possible. I still would’ve liked him to apply the advantage role even more than he did but sometimes that is difficult.
The dutch appealed for a spot-kick on 27 minutes, claiming handball from Simon Poulsen. Replays did show that the ball had skipped off his hand the assistant behind the goal is not in a position to give it and for the offence to apply, handball needs to be deliberate which is debatable here.
Into the second-half and Mark Van Bommel got his customary booking with a foul on Niki Zimling which was a correct call. Of course players like Van Bommel have a reputation but he had no excuses in this situation.
When Robin van Perise and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar both went for a ball with Danish goalie Stephan Andersen, Skomina blew for a foul from the Dutch forward. Goalkeepers are often over-protected by officials and this was the case here but Huntelaar had struck the free ball against a Danish player so the worst the Netherlands missed out on was a corner.
As the clock began to tick down, one could forgive the Danes for time wasting but Poulsen was rightly cautioned for dawdling over a throw-in and this seemed to stamp out repeat incidents from his team-mates.
William Kvist Jorgensen was booked for deliberate handball on 80 minutes outside the area but the biggest talking point came when his team-mate Lars Jacobsen handled the ball in the area with just a few minutes remaining.
The actual claim from Huntelarr comes when he kicks the Tango ball up onto Jacobsen’s arm which for me diminishes his arguments. At this point, the defender is not looking at the ball or the Dutch striker so this suggests the touch was accidental.
Skokima at this is ideally positioned to see the incident and waves it away. The fact is if fans call for this to be a penalty, we are likely to see two or three kicks per game – ball to hand is not an offence in the law and Skokima made the right the call.
Van Marwijk was convinced however. “”It is such a clear penalty, and then you likely get a draw,” he said, “”When there’s a penalty that doesn’t go in your favour, it’s unfortunate. But that’s part of the game.”
The Oranje must now go into their next two games under major pressure to win but their loss this time was to do with profligate finishing not refereeing decisions. Skokima has shown himself to be more than capable on this performance.
Ref’s rating: 8/10
Yellow cards: Badstuber, Boateng (Germany) Coentrao, Postiga (Portugal)
Red cards: 0
Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)
For the neutral, it was a disappointing to see this contest between two sides with a host of creative players break down into a stalemate between two sets of midfielders for the first two thirds of the game.
This leant the match a physical edge which I don’t feel Lannoy fully addressed. In all he blew for 32 fouls, the highest in the competition so far. Often these were simply 50/50 clashes between players and made a bitty game even more stop-start.
The game was also stopped briefly in the early stages with German fans throwing balls of paper at Portugese corner takers. Whether these can be counted as missiles is debatable but thankfully the fans either ran out of stuff to throw or decided not to after booming stadium announcements warning them the game might be abandoned if this continued.
The traditions that both country brings with regards to conduct appeared to be swapped with several theatrical dives from Germans and a lot of strong, charging play from the Portugese.
Helder Postiga was shown the first yellow of the game after 12 minutes for a slide tackle on Manuel Neuer. It was not as bad as Die Mannschaft keeper made out although Postiga did catch him.
The card-count was evened up just before the break when Nani went down almost post-humously following a tackle from Holger Badstuber. But he was clearly caught by defender and it was more a fall in pain than actual simulation.
Fabio Coentrao was booked after the break for taking down Bastian Schweinsteiger but his team-mate Raul Meireles could’ve been in big trouble had Lannoy spotted his slap at Badstuber as they josted for a ball on the touchline.
Replays showed the Chelsea player had pushed a closed fist into the defender’s face. There were no appeals from the players but it should’ve been at least yellow, if not worse.
It is impossible to discuss Portugal without mentioning CR7 and sure enough the divisive figure was in the action shortly before Germany took the lead when Jerome Boateng (who had been closely marking Ronaldo all evening) went in too hard.
The goal brought the game to life and saw players using their movement and pace to escape defenders rather than physically battling with them.
It was an assured if a little overly-interfering performance from Lannoy and while I am not one of his biggest fans, he did a decent job here.
Ref’s rating: 6/10
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