Wednesday’s referees reviewed
As we enter the crunch stage of the competition with reputations and tournament futures on the line, the referees are put under the spotlight even more. Wednesday was no different. In the group of death, who managed to survive?
Yellow cards: Meireles, Ronaldo (Portugal) Poulsen, Jacobsen (Denmark)
Red cards: 0
Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland)
In a scintilating match, Thompson calmly took a step back from the action and only stopped play when necessary. The changing scoreline helped – no side was ever in the mood to cynically stop play and display “anti-football” with one or both sides chasing the game throughout.
Double goalscorer Nicklas Bendtner was lucky to escape a booking after 18 minutes when he came with a tackle on Portugal’s Pepe, treading on his foot in the process.
Pepe gave the Iberian nation a 1-0 lead but his team were at risk of a red card seven minutes when Raul Meireles deliberately handballed as the Danish tried to breakthrough the Portugese backline.
This is obviously a yellow card offence at the bare minimum which Thomson duly showed. However as the image demonstrates, a Portugese teammate is also alongside him and the incident takes place over 30 yards from the goal itself so Meireles is not the last man. Had his handball been the one barrier between the Danes and the Portugese goal, a sending off would have been appropriate.
We had a similar situation to Jelavic’s goal against Ireland on Sunday when Bendtner was played through to head in the equaliser. Again, when the ball is played through to Michael Krohn-Dehli, Bendtner is offside. However is facing away from goal and static so is not “active”.
Therefore when the ball is eventually sent through to him by Krohn-Dehli, the Danish forward is now onside and the goal stands. People seeking consistency from officials can look at these two separate incidents and rest easy that the law was applied in the same way both times.
After the break, subsitute Jakob Poulsen was booked for a cynical tackle on fancy winger Nani. The Danes appealed for a penalty as they sought for a leveller at 2-1 behind but the ball had struck the hip area of the defender.
After the Scandinavian’s had made it 2-2, they did start to increase their physical play and Lars Jacobsen just about deserved a caution when took down Ronaldo, getting a bit too much man and too little ball.
The charismatic Cristiano Ronaldo who have a rather unfortunate time of things in front of goal finally let his petulance get the better of him in stoppage time with his side in the lead when he clipped Daniel Agger and received the match’s final booking.
Thomson communicate well with the players and while he did perhaps whistle too frequently in the second half, he did a decent job. But again, this was a relatively straight-forward game to oversee so judgement is reserved.
Ref’s rating: 7/10
Yellow cards: Boateng (Germany) de Jong, Willems (Netherlands)
Red cards: 0
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
In a grudge match and a very important group game for both sides, Eriksson did well to keep tempers intake. Especially from a Dutch team that had reports that it was imploding from within (we’ll come to Arjen Robben later).
Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted Eriksson point to the “Respect” badge on his shirt before the game and this was heeded, even if it was not a direct result of the official’s reminder.
Joachim Loew’s side appealed for a penalty when dynamo Mesut Ozil was brought down in the area but it was invalid as the German player had run into a Dutch player.
At the other end, Robin van Persie was lucky to avoid a booking as he appeared to use his arms to shield the ball down from a through ball but could only force a corner from his run towards goal.
As Bastian Schweinsteiger sent Mario Gomez through to score his first goal, their were suspicions of offside but replays showed Gomez was onside by a good margin and had timed his run well.
Three minutes later Gomez could have broken through to grab a second but Eriksson’s assistants wrongly flagged, denying the striker a second goal. Gomez made up for this on 38 minutes with a gloriously struck shot to give his side breathing distance.
Thomas Muller was fortunate to escape a caution just before the break when he sythed down Mark van Bommel from behind but the incident was not spotted by the officials.
In the second-half, Eriksson had less to do with the Germans slowing down the tempo and the ball being increasingly stuck in midfield. The foul count went down as did Dutch chances of a comeback.
But when Van Persie pulled it back to 2-1, the Netherlands were obviously more desperate for possession. Nigel de Jong surprisingly got the first booking of the game after 80 minutes of play for going straight through from behind on German wingback Philip Lahm as the game’s intensity grew.
Try as Bert van Marwijk’s side, they could not sustain attacking momentum. Jerome Boateng was given a yellow with a few minutes remaining on the clock for time wasting putting him out of Die Mannschaft’s final group game against Denmark.
Jetro Willems, who had looked flustered all night by Germany’s pacy forwards, finally let his cynicism get the better of him as he clipped Muller and became the final player to be booked.
On a side note, we should brief discuss Arjen Robben’s premature exit from the game when he hurdled over the advertising hoardings on the far side of the field and chose to walk past the Oranje fans, removing his national team jersey as he went.
Law 3 of the FIFA rules dictates that while the entering substitute must come onto the field at the half-way line, the exiting sub may not. There is a simple reason for this – usually this is to take into account an injured player who may need to be removed from the pitch at any spot and so applying a rigorous exit procedure is inappropriate.
However susbstituted players remain under control of the referee even once they have left the field. Technically the FIFA guidelines specify:
The player being substituted receives the referee’s permission to leave the field of play, unless he is already off the field of play for reasons that comply
with the Laws of the Game
Under Law 12, “A player must be cautioned if in the opinion of the referee, he makes gestures which are provocative, derisory or inflammatory.” However removing the shirt is an unclear action. On the one hand, Robben may have been hot and sweaty and wanting to cool down, on the other hand it could be a “screw you” gesture to the fans/manager.
All things considered, Eriksson was probably right to ignore it. The Swede had a solid game; made easy by the players behaviour and lack of any real “hot potato” incidents. His foul detection was good for the most part.
You will never stop emotions running high on these occasions, all you can do is manage the effects of these emotions in a positive manner and Eriksson did a more than satisfactory job.
Ref’s rating: 7/10
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