No conspiracy against the Socceroos

dasilva Roar Rookie

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    For all the controversy of referees that dogged the Socceroos in the last two World Cup and claims of conspiracy against smaller football nations like Australia, people forget the one decision that came our way.

    Four years ago against Japan, Cahill was sent in and promptly got yellow carded in the 69th minute for a clumsy challenge. However, he scored the equaliser and sent Australia into ecstasy. Then minutes later Cahill made a crude challenge inside the penalty box against Yūichi Komano.

    The referee waved play on when it was a clearly penalty and Tim Cahill should have been sent off. In fact the FIFA refereeing committee established that it was the only mistake the referee made in that match (they believed the Japanese goal was fair because they believed Craig Moore pushed Takohara into Schwarzer and therefore should have been a penalty if the goal didn’t go in. Even though I disagree with that interpretation, FIFA rubber stamped that goal).

    If the referee made the right decision, Cahill, instead of becoming the golden boy of the Socceroos and starring in Weet-Bix and Sony ads, would have became the villain of the Socceroos, getting sent off and leaving our World Cup dreams in tatters. The famous second goal from Cahill would have never have happened and chances are we would have lost that match 2-1 and would’ve been eliminated in the group stages with only a solitary point, with Cahill being the scapegoat.

    That match surely demonstrates the fine line between hero and villain and it’s hard to imagine where the current status of football in Australia would have been if things went differently. The Socceroos brand would have been worth less, Cahill wouldn’t be our golden boy, Guus Hiddink wouldn’t have been considered our saviour and miracle worker, etc.

    If we look further back to the famous Uruguay qualifiers, in the away leg, Schwarzer admitted to fouling Recoba in the box that would have left Australia 2-0 down and would have left a mountain of work for the Socceroos in the return leg.

    So despite claims of conspiracy against Australia, the defining moments of Australian football were assisted by referee errors. Remember that when we criticise the performances of the referees and realise that sometimes it goes our way, sometimes it doesn’t.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • June 21st 2010 @ 8:21am
      Geordie said | June 21st 2010 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      Don’t forget in 2006 the Roos played nearly 40 minutes against 10 man Italy when Materazzi was sent off in the 51st minute so the ref certainly did his job there.

      On the side of the conspiracy theorists what other team in world football has to have opposition players receive 3 yellow cards before being sent off although Simunic is Australian born so maybe the ref was confused.

      • June 21st 2010 @ 4:32pm
        dasilva said | June 21st 2010 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

        Yeah the Italians were unfairly reduced to 10 men.

        The 3 yellow cards? That was more imcompetence rather then conspiracy though.

        Graham Poll became the laughing stock of world football and that ended his international referee career.

        Apparently he was rather spooked about that game ever since.

      • June 21st 2010 @ 4:40pm
        dasilva said | June 21st 2010 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

        One Australian player wasn’t send off even though he had 2 yellow cards. The referee only realised it later on and send him off afterwards.

        Graham Poll wasn’t the first one
        When I had PWC columnist Paul Marcuccitti over at my house during the World Cup, we talked about his experiences while travelling through Germany. One of the most exciting moments had been the match between Australia, his home country, and Croatia. Both teams had lots of fans in the Gottlieb Daimler Stadium in Stuttgart, shouting for their teams loudly like he had never heard before. And of course we discussed the performance of Graham Poll, the referee on the night, who made a string of blatant mistakes and only sent off Croatian Josip Simunic after showing him his third yellow card.

        And all of a sudden, it struck my mind. Hadn’t their been one more or less similar situation in the World Cup before? And wasn’t that in a match with Australia involved as well? Now Australia did only play three matches in the World Cup prior to the one we had been talking about, so it wasn’t a big search. And while still chatting with Paul, I knew it.

        Saturday, June 22 1974, wasn’t a very nice day in Berlin. The rain had already been falling down for hours when Australia and Chile entered the pitch of the Olympia Stadium, the biggest venue for this World Cup filled with only 14,000 spectators for that occasion. It was their third match in the competition. Chile only had a chance of qualifying for the next round when East Germany would be beaten by their western neighbours at the same day, Australia were already eliminated after losing their two earlier matches against East and West Germany. Only pride to play for.

        Neither of the teams were very spectacular, nor were they very good. Chile had World Cup veterans like Figueroa, Valdes and Veliz in the team, who had already gained experience at this level in 1966, but neither could make the headlines in this championship. Caszely, their star player out with a red card in the first match, came back this time and did pretty well, but his fellow strikers missed a lot needed at this level. Australia, who had lost their big star Ray Baartz prior to the tournament due to a nasty injury, only had a lot of good will to offer. Jack Reilly was a sound goalie and James MacKay wasn’t a bad player, but up front they also lacked bite. A typical 0-0 match? Yes.

        The match in itself wasn’t worth this column. It ended 0-0. But the referee was. The man in charge in Berlin was little Iranian Jafar Namdar, not a familiar name in World Cups until then. He had been at the Olympic Games 1972, also in West Germany, but this was his first match in the World Cup. The rain tormented the pitch, in the second half the teams could hardly play the ball from one to another, always water in the way. West Germany-Poland was not the only match in this tournament destroyed by water, there was a lot of rain in the summer of 1974. Namdar, though this was not a match played with full dedication, was in trouble all the time. Australia had the more physical approach (hey, didn’t we see that in 2006 as well?) and Chile couldn’t find a way through. Many of the decisions Namdar took were doubtful. And when midfielder Ray Richards, a 30 year old playing his hometown football for Marconi Fairfield, kicked the ball away in anger after Namdar again had called a foul against Australia, just when the team in yellow and green thought this it had been a fair challenge, it earned him a yellow card.

        So far, so good. But then comes the 82nd minute: an unclear situation. First left back Colin Curran of Australia collides with Chilean right back Rolando Garcia, at the sideline. Screaming from pain Curran is on the ground, some Australian trainers around him who take him out off the field. Namdar has awarded the free kick to Australia, Ray Richards is about to take it. But one of the trainers is in the way while still giving treatment to Curran, Richards can not take the run towards the ball that he wants to. Vital Louraux, the famous Belgian referee now a linesman – who would have been a better choice to lead the match, as well as Dutchman Arie van Gemert who was on the other side with the flag – calls for Namdar to tell him he should order Curran and his men further away from the sideline so that Richards can take his run. Instead, Namdar believes that Louraux tells him that Richards is wasting time. Namdar shows the yellow card to the strong built midfielder. His second of the night. But nothing further happens. No red card. Richards can stay on the field.

        Play goes on, and two minutes later – okay, it is not as bad as Poll, but still – Australian Manfred Schaefer and one of the Chilean forwards are performing a sort of catch-as-catch-can, and Namdar gives Chile the free kick. Then, Louraux waves his flag again. He tells Namdar that he forgot to show the red card to Richards. You see it, he raises six fingers to tell: it is number 6. Namdar does the same: number 6? Yes, number 6. Then he goes for Richards, can not find him at first, but in the end sends him off. Protesting loudly, Richards obeys.

        Australia, the World Cup and referees, it is something strange with yellow and red cards everytime the Socceroos participate!

        Namdar was allowed to come back to the World Cup. He was the referee in 1978 when Poland beat Mexico 3-1. Graham Poll retired from international football after his mistakes. Namdar, who again was controversial in 1978, should have done the same. He was a referee on the wrong level.

    • Roar Guru

      June 21st 2010 @ 8:59am
      AndyRoo said | June 21st 2010 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      I also believe it’s more bad luck than a conspiracy… their was a case for both Australia and NZ’s penalties on the weekend but the unlucky part comes in that so many similar calls aren’t made.
      how many shirt pulls went unpunished before Tommy Smith got called for it.

      Their are some interesting comments on CNN in reaction to the horrible decision from the mali ref in their game.

      things like:
      A pool reporter should be able to quiz the ref after the game about his decsiions.

      The ref should say what the call is for i.e. if it’s for shirt pulling say shirt pulling (in return for this how about FIFA step up and back the refs on the field with more powers and mandates against dissent).

      Those two were such simple and unobtrusive changes I can’t see the case against.


    • June 21st 2010 @ 11:08am
      Phil Hawkins said | June 21st 2010 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      Good article and shows how we conveniently forget/ignore in favour of compiling evidence for the tiring “we woz robbed” brigade.

    • June 21st 2010 @ 11:36am
      Mick of Newie said | June 21st 2010 @ 11:36am | ! Report

      Spot on Das. I was recalling the same incident to anyone who wanted to run the conspiracy past us.

      The other problem is that the Kewell (as was the Grosso) decision was correct. The fact that not one of the cheersquad (analysts) could bring themselves to say it was down to myopic patriotism.

      I hope the commentary will come back to what a performance the roos put in on Saturday and not mispalced slander of the referee.

    • June 21st 2010 @ 12:56pm
      bernard hickey said | June 21st 2010 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

      the problem is that so easily can a referee decision determine this game that whether it is due to chance or conspiracy the current state of the game umpiring is unfair, it is not goos enough to say that it evens out-how can you even out a world cup trophy. In Australias game agaiinst Germany a german defender definitely armballed in the penalty box, blockin an Australian cross with the score at 2-0. This was a much clearer breach than Kewells and if had incurred a penalt Australia could have been just 2-1 down and Germany with 10 men for 60 minutes, and yet 2 minutes later Australia’s best goal scorer is off and Australia is at 10 men.
      Last night I saw Fabiano blatantly arm- of – god in the penalty area and kick a goal from this-he should have been off, Brazil at 10 men for 50 minutes and the score 1-0 to Brazil but Ivory Coast with a hue chance to at least equalize.
      In cricket there is video review, in Australian Rules 3 umpires. FIFA is a joke and the conspiracy is the rubbish they are feeding us.

    • June 21st 2010 @ 6:32pm
      Jack said | June 21st 2010 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

      The officiating in South Africa is a joke and a blight on the administrators. With so many obvious blunders something is not right, for me the fact that the ref is judge jury and executioner is just not on.

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