Friday, June 18, 2010

USA soccer ties Slovenia

I caught the tail end of the USA v Slovenia soccer match. Slovenia is some small European country that I confuse with Slovakia. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Soccer must be the only sport where no one knows when the game will end. The TV announcers did not know that the game was over until players started walking off the field. Soccer is also peculiar because people put up with so many boring ties. Many World Cup games have ended in a 0-0 tie.

The Americans were down 2-0, until they figured out that the Slovenia goalie was afraid of the ball. In the second half, the Americans scored twice by kicking the ball at the Slovenia goalie's head, and he ducked.

The Americans appeared to score an exciting winning goal in the final few minutes, but the referee called it back. The replay showed a clear goal, and no foul or offsides by the Americans. The referee did not even explain why he disallowed the goal. No one knows.

I am told that soccer has such ridiculous rules partially because non-Americans do not understand the concept of fairness. Europeans believe that kings have arbitrary authority over them, so they do not question soccer referees making capricious decisions. They just don't grasp the idea of holding their officials accountable.

Update: The soccer official are not planning any changes:
In perhaps every other sport, an explanation of such a decisive play would have been provided. But Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, has ignored calls for video replay and has decided against putting additional referees on the end line. He has said that he likes the debate that follows matches, believing that uncertainty and subjectivity boost the sport.
In other words, soccer fans like bad refereeing. This decision was so bad that the referee is rumored to be under review.

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