The following analysis is taken from our community member Hagi's column weekly published on the German platform wahretabelle.de, which is aimed at discussing and analyzing crucial decisions appearing in the two highest leagues of German club football. Based on that, "real standings" are created rectified by adding or reducing goals that only became possible due to crucial mistakes.
|Felix Brych having sent off Simunic (c) stern.de|
FIFA referee Felix Brych did not have it easy at all last Friday. The 38 year-old lawyer was appointed by FIFA to oversee one of the most difficult matches existing for a match official: Serbia – Croatia. Previously, this match was played three times: in March 2013 and twice in 1999, when Serbia still played under the flag of former Yugoslavia. The referees of these matches were Turkish Cüneyt Çakır, José Garcia-Aranda of Spain and Danish Kim Milton Nielsen. All three were/are belonging to the top class of international referees, who had to cope with this extremely hot duel. Brych now got in line with these referees, whom FIFA and UEFA have therefore granted the biggest trust possible.
His match control was outstanding and the crucial situations were assessed appropiately as well. In fact Serbia appealed for a penalty kick in the 3rd minute of the match, but even in the only replay available there was no contact visible. Both sending-offs were correct, too. The second yellow card against Nemanja Matic was absolutely justified, even though the first yellow card might be described as harsh, but acceptable and suitable to his line. And the direct red card against Josip Simunic was indeed correct for three reasons!
Serbia’s Miralem Sulejmani initiated a counterattack after a Croatian corner kick, made a solo run and, having been in high pace, was fouled by former Bundesliga player Simunic, who had seen that he would not be able to play the ball anymore and thus whacked Suleymani in a manner that Simunic himself fell to the ground and that both players landed apart from each other by more than seven metres.
If you ascribe intention to Simunic’s challenge, which is supported by several circumstances – the ball was already six metres away at the moment of the contact – then this incident must be judged as a violent conduct by a deliberate kick. If you consider the occasion in a very “player-friendly” way, it can be assessed as serious foul play due to clearly endangering the opponent’s health and executing the challenge with excessive force.
Furthermore one has to recognize that Sulejmani, given his speed in the moment of passing Simunic, very likely could not be caught up by any opponent and that Simunic was moreover the last man. Despite the distance of 60 metres towards the goal and despite his position at the left side of the field of play, this should be evaluated as an obvious goal-scoring opportunity prevented by the Croatian player’s foul. For this reason it could be even assessed as dogso.
Violent conduct, serious foul play, dogso: Felix Brych more or less had the agony of the choice, why exactly he would dismiss Simunic. One thing is sure: this red card was threefold correct.