Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Controversies, Gaffes, and Highlights

The World Cup always creates controversy--that's part of its charm. Predictably, it began months before the first game with the traditional grousing about the ball. Each World Cup has its own ball. This year it's Jabulani, which means "to celebrate" in isiZulu.

The World Cup is now in full swing, and group play (the round-robin stage) has already produced its share of highlights and lowlights. The three that follow caught my attention. (Yes, I'm obviously biased toward the U.S. team.)

Utterly Amazing Goal by Maicon (Brazil v. North Korea)

Video link (ESPN)
This goal seemed to defy the laws of physics, and Maicon did this at a full sprint. What a great way to start off the World Cup . . . unless you're from North Korea.

British Goalie's Howler (England v. U.S.)

This should not have been a goal. It almost makes you feel sorry for Robert Green, the British goalie.

Video link (ESPN) for when FIFA takes down the YouTube video.

U.S. Game-Winning Goal Disallowed (U.S. v. Slovenia)

Even more suspect is that he couldn't explain his call. No one was offsides and there didn't appear to be any real fouls.

Apparently, FIFA was not impressed with the referee and excluded him from the list of referees for the next round. But the blown call may have had a good effect. Combined with the U.S. team's win in stoppage time yesterday, it seems to galvanized support for the U.S. team among Americans.

More Reading
"Controversy over Worldcup ball," Watchprem
"World Cup referee who robbed U.S. may be out," USA Today

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