July 4th and 5th 2010
More rest days until the semi-final and - despite what I said last time - I may actually use these for the purpose for which they were intended!
As a debating point (and to see if anyone actually reads this thing!) I'm inviting comments about the English FA's decision to continue with Fabio Capello. Good thing or bad? Let's hear from you!
Let's 'ave a Poll
Former World Cup referee Graham Poll - lest we forget a man sent home in disgrace from the 2006 World Cup after booking the same player three times - has called for the introduction of penalty goals following Luis Suarez's blatant hand-ball for Uruguay in the dying seconds of the match against Ghana. As we know, although Suarez was sent-off, the resulting spot-kick was missed and a penalty shoot-out ensued which Uruguay won, effectively proving the old maxim 'Cheats never prosper' is the load of old Jubilani's we all knew it was.
"The officials got it spot on, dismissing Suarez and awarding a penalty, but that gave Uruguay a lifeline they did not deserve," Poll writes in today's Daily Fascist. "Referee Olegario Benquerenca would have been relieved to spot the handball, but in the dressing room afterwards his team would have discussed the sense of injustice.
"The clause in the law under which Suarez was dismissed was the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The problem is that Ghana were denied a goal, not just the opportunity to score one. A penalty-goal in these circumstances would be appropriate."
Poll dismissed the mitigating circumstances mooted by some of the BBC panel that Suarez acted 'instinctively' and that 'anyone would have done the same'. "If that is true then awarding a penalty-goal and a yellow card seems more appropriate. Then the wronged team would not be denied a goal and the instinctive act less harshly punished."
Poll also had something to say about the penalty awarded in the other quarter final in which Paraguay's Alcaraz was only booked for bringing down David Villa and not dismissed as some thought he should have been.
"No striker converts every chance, so awarding a penalty seems fair. Referee Carlos Batres failed to dismiss the Paraguay defender, but it was only an opportunity denied and not a certain goal."
I actually agree with Poll that Alcaraz shouldn't have been dismissed but am less keen on the penalty goal suggestion. In any case, being as FIFA are still arguing goal-line technology and will probably still be doing so by the time the next tournament comes around, I think the call for a radical rule change is likely to be met about as warmly as a third yellow card from Mr. Poll.