November 22, 2013

Mistakes that could cost a World Cup Participation

Following last Tuesday's World Cup 2014 qualifying match between France and Ukraine in Stade de France, Paris, there was much to say about the Slovenian referee team's performance. Even though the match featured non-stop challenges from the very first minute, which partly made referee Damir Skomina struggle, his assistant referee's blackouts were the real topic that was discussed about.

Apart from the Ukrainian team, AR1 Matej Žunič probably was the most unlucky person on the field of play and after the match when he had to realize that he made two crucial mistakes in that match. At first he wrongly disallowed the possible 2:0 goal by France for offside. As the first screenshot indicates, this decision was clearly wrong. Only four minutes later, he then allowed France's 2:0 goal despite a one-metre offside position of Karim Benzema (video).

NO OFFSIDE. This goal should have counted.


Memories are conjured up reminding us on the play-off four years ago where Ireland suffered from the famous mistake made by Swedish Martin Hansson - also in Paris. Of course, the situation before and in the match was totally different so that this correlation might be raised but offers no real basis of causality. One should rather start thinking about how these mistakes cropped up and what last Tuesday's night could mean for the Slovenian team in the context of the selection for the World Cup.
Both offside / onside situations differ significantly from each other. The first one was a tight call, but actually quite easy to make. The only difficulty for Žunič might have been to capture the right moment when the ball was touched before the pass (maybe his line of sight was blocked). Nonetheless, this mistake can happen although it is painful. 
The second one is more crucial. First, because of the distance of the offside position. It was de facto at least one metre. Žunič would have certainly flagged for offside if he had been aware of the deflection of another French forward player which made Benzema (the goal-scorer) be positioned in "active" offside. So the real reason for this mistake is defective teamwork between Skomina and his assistant referee and nothing else. This was already visible on matchday 1 of this Champions League campaign at Old Trafford. And there must be again reasons for that. Missing experience within this referee team? Did Skomina lack in awareness for a potential offside situation that might bother his assistant referee? Why did not Žunič signal doubts by standing still instead of quickly running to the midfield line as video no.2 suggests? Difficult questions and partly there is no answer keeping in mind the extreme circumstances accompanying the officials in this specific situation. Very likely Damir Skomina is the one to be "blamed" in this situation. But in fact, a referee team that want to go to a World Cup have to be able to detect clear offsides that even a TV spectator is able to detect in live pace from a blurred angle. This does not discredit the principle that referees are humans who can make mistakes though. Neither it discredits the fact that Skomina and his team have been outstanding in several matches in the past.
The aftermath of this qualifier can be vitally important. UEFA will have about eleven or twelve places for the World Cup in Brazil including one referee who will be fourth official only. Predictions on the list that is expected to be released by FIFA either in January or in May 2014 will be posted after Club World Cup here. But what can be said already now is that Skomina, Žunič and Ul are a trio that cannot really build upon the full support from FIFA politics. There are other candidates who have stronger people behind them and whom FIFA maybe trusts more because they already know these certain referees from previous tournaments, even though the Slovenians might have performed better over the last months. So naturally such mistakes can have the consequence of missing a World Cup only due to that. In a pool of approximately 14 or 15 referee trios who have big chances to join Brazil's World Cup, the competition should be high enough. Massimo Busacca has always emphasized the need to appoint experienced and confident referee trios - he rarely talked about the main referees in an isolated fashion. That's why "Team Slovenia" could be in real trouble. What Peter Mikkelsen, FIFA Referee Committee member and observer in Paris, had to think after this match is that this team do not interact and do not "function" on the pitch as they should.
The next step of analysis would be to think about possible consequences on UEFA level. Collina and company, who seem to like Žunič as much as to appoint him also for Matej Jug's team in UEFA Champions League, have now the choice to either trust Žunič and to remain unimpressed by his mistakes in a FIFA match - and psychologically, that would be the best "therapy" in order to allow this young assistant referee to come back to his self-confidence - or to think about changing Skomina's team even looking forward to the possible World Cup participation. If we remember what happened to Alasdair Ross after Dortmund - Málaga or to João Santos after Ajax Amsterdam - Real Madrid, the second option seems to be possible. Time will tell.

34 Comments:

  1. I didn’t want to talk about Proenca’s “performance” at Greece-Romania but if Niclas started a thread with this title I can’t resist:

    1. First goal of Greece was offside. I hope it’s clear for everyone:
    http://www.romaniatv.net/grecia-romania-live-online-scor-baraj-cm-2014-calificare_107303.html
    I have some doubts regarding a possible offside also at 2nd goal but we don’t have a proper replay.

    2. Proenca&co was very harsh with Romanian team. There were a lot of decision anti-Romania: set-pieces around the Romania’s area, a lot of cards for our players, some fouls not given for Romania, attitude of Proenca when he was talking with Romanian players etc.
    Maybe you will say that I’m subjective but I was on the stadium and I felt all these things. You don’t have to be Einstein to understand when a referee is against you…
    Honestly, I didn't believe that such "performance" is possible at this level.

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    Replies
    1. The reason for which Proença was against Romania?
      Please now answer.

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    2. I don't know the reason but I give you 3 options:
      1. Fernando Santos, coach of Greece, is from Portugal like Proenca.
      2. Before the game romanian federation informed FIFA about this situation. Maybe Proenca was not very happy because his impartiality was in question...
      3. Greece has a member in UEFA referee committee...

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    3. Now it becomes way too ridiculous.

      Check the house rules of this blog.
      [...]
      3. This blog is the wrong place to verbally insult referees in an abusive manner for a general purpose or after matches, i.e. after their performances, and to raise conspiracy theories without evidence and good knowledge.

      Delete
    4. I want to give you 3 options, too.
      Option 1: Petschovschi is biased.
      Option 2: Petschovschi is biased.
      Option 3: Petschovschi is biased.

      Delete
  2. Excuse me, petschovschi, but if you comment on a referee performance and use the term "our players"...that is not really credible.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not interested if an "anonymous" consider that I'm not credible...
      It's my opinion based on what I saw on the pitch (I repeat I was on the stadium) and no one will change it: Proenca and his assistents were pro-Greece in that game.

      Anyway, for purpose of this thread, one thing it' enough: 1st goal of Greece was offside !

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  3. Away from Proença and Greece-Romania , I just watched Björn Kuipers and I have to say a really good performance from the Dutchman (I can expect no less in recent months). Three words come to mind: cool, calm and composed. As mentioned beforehand on a previous thread, he correctly dismissed Mandžukić for SFP (however, the incident occurred right under the nose of Van Poekel, I wonder if he influenced Kuipers.). Also, Kuipers correctly rejected a penalty appeal from the hosts in the first half. Additionally, AR1 Van Roekel correctly ruled out an Iceland goal in the 11th minute for offside. A more in depth analysis of the Dutch quartet's performance can be found in my report which is close to completion. Expect it within 24 hours. Regards.

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  4. I fully agree that "Team Slovenia" is in real trouble after their performance in this playoff match. Since 2006 world cup, a referee is no longer selected and assessed on his own, quite often than not, it is the two assistants that would determine the referee's fate. As we have seen in the last world cup, two top referees, Rosetti and Larrionda were "killed" by their assistants in round of 16 matches. However, Howard Webb and his team was awarded the final, for a large part it was due to the performance of his two assistants, Cann and Mullarkey.

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  5. There is also another fact that certainly count against Damir Skomina and his Slovenian Team. History suggests that FIFA rarely selects more than one referee from Eastern Europe to play a prominent role in the world cup. We all know Sandor Puhl (HUN) was the only referee from Eastern Europe in 1994 WC and he had the final. After Puhl's retirement, it came Lubos Michel (SVK) for 2002 and 2006 WC, after that, it was Viktor Kassai's time to shine in 2010 WC. Kassai is still on the list for 2014 WC. Actually there are quite a number of strong candidates from eastern europe on the prelist this time.

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  6. MY OPINION ABOUT WC APPOINTMENTS BASED ON CURRENT FORM AND MISTAKES MADE BY OFFICIALS UNTIL THIS MOMENT:

    It's too early but so many users gave their views so I chose the refs in the way of elimination (those who shouldn't go are described why, in my opinion)

    SHOULD go to Brazil:
    Brych, Cakir, Eriksson, Kuipers, Lannoy, Mazic, Proenca, Rocchi, Undiano Mallenco, Webb

    SHOULDN'T go to Brazil:
    Mark Clattenburg - clearly loses his battle with Webb by experience and skills

    Viktor Kassai - in the current form, one of the weakest referees from the perspective list. The problem with weak level of Hungarian assistants is well-known. We can't say about a WC level of cooperation and skills of the whole team. Same Kassai lowered his form last times, being far too lenient, struggling with disciplinary control in nearly every match. Not consistent enough, not talented assistants enough. The phenomenon of natural authority couldn't be enough reason to design Hungarian team.

    Pavel Kralovec - never a top-class referee, without experience in big matches

    Svein Oddvar Moen - he could be good or awful, not consistent level of performances, some really bad performances in the past.

    Nicola Rizzoli - here only deduction says that Rocchi is probably out. Rocchi's better than overrated Rizzoli in my book. Someone wrote here that we don't know what mistake Rocchi is ready to make. My answer: we don't know it in every single case, but in current form I'm sure Rizzoli will miss several cautions and/or sending-offs and will be happy with it as after last CL final. That's the problem! Rocchi should go to Brazil, but there was also change in his team (one should ask Collina why?!) that indicates his team is not taken into account. Rizzoli in current form shouldn't go to Brazil however strange it sounds.

    Damir Skomina - undoubtedly good referee, but here the above text is a proof why Slovenian team should stay at home or be max. 4th official. Mr. Zunic spoiled much or even destroyed their chances for WC ticket. However, same Skomina has much to learn in fields of contact with players, positioning and natural authority. It's harsh, but not enough imo.

    Wolfgang Stark - he had his chances to shine at big tournaments, but never was very good. He (and mainly his teammates) showed they can make easy and grave mistakes last times. It was with additional assistants - maybe Stark doesn't like them? The FIFA tournaments are without them, but new German referee (Brych) seems a better choice after last not the best campaigns of Stark.

    Craig Thomson - I rate him quite high, but again it's problem of assistants. Mr. Ross was banned from Thomson's team and no one know what about replacement in prospective list. Maybe Busacca gave refs more time to work on cooperation with new assistants in Kassai and Thomson cases? Who knows... He should be the first reserve option along with Rizzoli.

    Carlos Velasco Carballo - the referee who rarely is in alert (maybe never). He is ready to miss obvious things by his too relaxed approach. It's the reason I rate very concentrated Undiano Mallenco higher than him. That's all.

    Of course, one must remember about further months when everything could happen. Spectacular mistakes could be a real destroyer of some team's chances (I don't wish it of course!). Let's see who will be chosen by Busacca whom I like very very much and in my opinion he's the best choice for such important task! I please anonymous users who often abuse people here last times for cultural discussion

    Regards!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A good, argumented opinion. As someone from Eastern Europe I wish the best of luch for Kassai and Skomina, but have to agree that they have drawn too much negative attention with performance of their teams in the last few months (or more than a year in Kassai's case).

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    2. I don´t think that Rocchi will be at Brazil.

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    3. I am sure he won't be, but it's only my opinion :)

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    4. Okay, I am ok with you in many parts.
      But words like "Carlos Velasco Carballo - the referee who rarely is in alert (maybe never). He is ready to miss obvious things by his too relaxed approach." are an impudence imo.

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  7. As said, actually it was planned to discuss that after Club World Cup. Nonetheless thank you for your opinion.

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  8. It seems Phil Dowd has missed a straight red card offence in the Merseyside derby. Mirallas with a very nasty challenge on Suarez.

    http://z1.ifrm.com/1500/55/0/p1036685/BZwk_wIIYAAFCbb.jpg-large

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    Replies
    1. No doubt, 100% red card, he had bad angle, but still...

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  9. Easy job Grafe at Dortmund.

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    Replies
    1. Do you really think so? The first half was very intense. Very good performance in a very challenging (DFB category 3) match. Specially his ARs have been very good.

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  10. Grafe did a very good job I think. Have not had it easy, but was on spot almost all the time.

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  11. Very,very well Manuel Gräfe at B.Dortmund-B.München.

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  12. The Report for Romania vs Greece missed a yellow Card for romanian Defender Goian in the 43rd minute due to some Trouble before a Greece corner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But then FIFA missed it too:
      http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/europe/matches/round=258394/match=300261020/report.html

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    2. Hi Howard Maxi.
      You are talking about FIRST LEG Match (3-1 in Greece), in which Goian got the card you have reported.
      This is the SECOND LEG report.
      We can't assure a report on the FIRST LEG for now.
      Sorry.
      Regards.

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    3. Oops, sorry. Indeed it was the first leg.

      The FIFA claims Durmaz was booked instead of Antonsson in Sweden vs Portugal, quite a big mistake.

      Anyone knows if Bougherra (Algeria) was indeed booked in the first leg against Burkina Faso? That would mean Burkina would go to the World Cup!

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    4. Hubert checked that (ALG-BFA) and as far as I know he found out that this player was NOT booked in the first leg.

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    5. Bougherra scored the winning goal but a few minutes prior to that, he was lucky to get only a YC by Diatta.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_FMuoPj7yQ

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    6. I hope he just sorted out the wrong card...

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    7. OMG, horrible tackle! Mr. Diatta...

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    8. I wonder how would feel referees who did not make such mistakes if Skomina will go to the World Cup and they will stay home?

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    9. Maybe the influence of Vlado Sajn doesn't reach FIFA. I hope so.

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    10. I think Skomina`s biggest mistakes maked his assistant Zunic and not him . To compare Mazic mistake ( missed penalty in Romania vs Greece) is in my oppinion much bigger and also Proenca assistant maked mistake allowing a first goal for Greece from offside. If we go step by step we can hardly find a WC referee candidate without a mistake.

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