I’ve been meaning to comment on this for the last week. For those that missed it, last week Ireland and France played for the final European spot in the World Cup finals. The game was decided by a blatant handball by French star Thierry Henry (two, in fact, in addition to the fact he was offside) in extra time which led to a French goal. Video is here.
This is exactly what is wrong with soccer (or, depending where you live, football). Referee’s make mistakes in every sport, but in soccer the low-scoring means these mistakes are too-often decisive. No matter how beautiful the sport may be, a 1-0 or 2-1 result as a result of blown call by a referee is an unsatisfying result for everyone. (On a related note, this is also why soccer is so easy for corrupt ref’s to fix – UEFA is currently investigating 200 possibly fixed matches in Europe).
The whole incident reminded me of the heart-breaking way Australia was eliminated from the last World Cup, an obvious dive for which Italy was awarded a penalty with less than a minute to go in extra time, giving them the win in the group of 16 match:
Here’s a nice re-enactment.