… AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
Germany 4 England 1 | Argentina 3 Mexico 1
They say that justice is blind. Well, based on last night’s games, so are World Cup linesmen! Right. Before I embark on my little rant, let me preface it by stating categorically that Germany deserved to win – probably not by 3 goals – but they had enough skill, class, pace and guile to outfox the clueless England defensive “system” to get the result. England were poor and the lion’s share of the blame must fall on Fabio Capello. But I’ll come to that later.
Now both of last night’s games were “infected” by crucial decisions by linesmen. In England’s case, the wiping off of a legitimate goal by Frank Lampard when the score was 2-1 to the Germans. For the Mexicans, Carlos Tevez quite clearly headed into the goal from an offside position but the “goal” was allowed to stand by the incompetent officials. Score? 0-0.
Now, remember that moment in Back to the Future, where Marty McFly inadvertently caused his parents not to get together and how that resulted in his fading away from existence itself? Well, its all cause and effect, innit? Had Lampard’s effort been recognized, England would have pulled back a two-goal deficit – very much against the run of play – and they would have been flying. Who knows? They might have scored a third before half time and the Germans would have had to chase the game. As it was, England had to do so in the second half and when caught on the break, the flaws of Gareth Barry, John Terry, Glenn Johnson and Matthew Upson were easily exploited.
Even the German hero Muller admitted that the disallowed goal was a turning point - ”Of course, we had some luck with Lampard’s effort,” he reflected. “We knew we had to seize the opportunity with both hands. We got the stroke of luck and we knew we couldn’t give it away.” Naturally, he also added that he felt that it was justice for the 1966 World Cup Final – where a dubious Geoff Hurst goal was given, despite German protests that the ball had never crossed the line, and England won 4-2.
Does that mean England deserved to win or force the game to penalty kicks? Probably not – but it would have been closer in the second half than how it ultimately turned out. Some may argue that the injustice should have spurred England to fight tooth and nail to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. Sadly, with players off-color especially Wayne Rooney (who has looked burned out in the tournament) and Capello’s strange insistence on relying on the lumbering Heskey than the in-form Crouch upfront, that was not likely to happen.
So yet another World Cup where England exit, tails between their legs. Fabio Capello has to go and perhaps Roy Hodgson installed to bring back some pride and respect to this pathetic England team. There is too much obvious player power in the England setup with the likes of Lampard and Rooney undroppable no matter how badly they were playing. And will people now acknowledge that John Terry is not a world class defender? Don’t get me started on Jamie Carragher or Matthew Upson, either please. England need to wipe the slate clean and begin afresh for the Euro qualifiers.
But at least England did not surround and harass/abuse the officials when their goal was disallowed. The Mexicans were not quite so gracious about the offside “goal” that Tevez scored. Again, Mexico probably deserved to lose but questions will be raised – what if? By the time Mexico recovered to pull one back (scored by the impressive Man Utd recruit Javier Hernandez), they were 3 goals down. A mere consolation really. Mexico were obviously rattled by the decision and a horrendous defensive error allowed Higuain in for his 4th goal of the competition before Tevez blasted a beauty of a cracker into the top corner of Mexico’s goal to effectively finish off the tie.
FIFA and the officials must be pleased as punch that prima facie the WRONG decisions were NOT crucial in the final analysis because I am certain that FIFA will continue to ignore claims for video technology and remain in the dark ages. Hopefully, there are no more such further incidents in the upcoming games as it really does leave a bad taste in a football fan’s mouth.
Argentina v Germany in the quarter-finals, a mouth watering prospect!