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Watching Soccer From Hell   Leave a comment

This video surfaced today … it’s from a soccer semifinal match for the Greek Cup. The teams had just entered the pitch, and were engaging in the ceremonial photos with the refs and other team when the fans of PAOK decided to set their world on fire.

Can you imagine being in the stands around that conflagration?

Oh, and the match had to be delayed in order for the smoke to clear. The opposing team’s bench was actually set on fire.

Unbelievable.

Note to self: don’t watch soccer while in Greece.

More

NBCNews: Wild Greek Cup Match

USAToday: Greek Soccer Fans Kick Off Big Rivalry Game By Lighting Everything On Fire

Posted April 19, 2014 by henrymowry in Sports

Tagged with , , ,

A Red Card?   2 comments

Loved watching the US play Costa Rica in soccer yesterday.

This was the Men’s National Team playing in the CONCACAF championship tournament … the regional championship of North America, Central America and the Carribbean. It’s been held 11 times, and Mexico has won 6 times, USA 4 times, and Canada 1 time. The USA is favored to win the tournament this year.

The problem came at 54:33 of this pool-play match. The Costa Rican goal keeper, Pepperton, rushed out to the edge of the box, knocking one of his defenders down to head a ball away. The problem came on the rebound: he handled the ball outside of the goalkeeper’s area.

CONCACAF

Handling the ball deliberately.

You can see in the picture that he handled the ball. Let’s go to the rule book:

A foul occurs when a player in the field of play “handles the ball deliberately.” In this case, the player is the keeper, who has left his special area – meaning he is the same as a field player – and then he, clearly, handled the ball deliberately.

Cobi Jones, the color commentator, exploded with “It’s gotta be a red card.”

He continued, “It was an intentional handball.” (Cobi, that was spoken like the great player that you were. It must be intentional to “handle the ball deliberately.” But thanks for trying!)

JP Dellacamera, the play-by-play announcer, was entirely supportive of Cobi’s slanted perspective. American viewers watching the telecast knew that a red card was the right call – and they were about to believe that America had been robbed.

A red card, you see, would have resulted in the keeper being sent from the field of play. Costa Rica would have been forced to bring on another keeper for the rest of the match, and to play with only ten men on the field. The USA would have had a major advantage.

The referee, Courtney Campbell, issued a yellow card, which was “only” a warning to the keeper. That was the proper call, in my opinion. A red card would have been appropriate if the keeper committed the foul to end an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Did the handling keep a goal from happening? Perhaps, but it was not obvious. That’s what the referee thought, and I agree. I’m hardly a FIFA referee, but I do have a bit of referee training and experience. Yellow card, as called.

Fox Sports however, played the role of the homer. They stated the red card was the right call.  Their expert on the laws of soccer, Dr. Joe Machnik, agreed that a red card was the right call. In no case did they explain why a yellow card might be the right call.

And that’s why they were wrong. I hope their coverage improves … they should listen to Vin Scully call the Dodgers sometime; perhaps they would then understand how a sports announcer should handle controversial calls by the referee. Until then, viewers better bone up on the laws of the game, because Fox isn’t helping them.

USA won their group outright by defeating Costa Rica. Now, it’s on to the CONCACAF quarter finals … watch the USA take on El Salvador in Baltimore this Sunday at 3:30p ET. Fox Sports, of course. Just don’t take the commentary too seriously.

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