Monday, 7 July 2014

Lenient refereeing backs Brazil's niggling style

I'm not entirely comfortable with the way Brazil have progressed to the semi-final in this World Cup. This is certainly not the 'samba-style', free-flowing football Brazil of old. This team has no qualms about fouling, breaking up the game, niggling, and relying on support from the crowd, and, sadly, help from referees.

In my last point, I don't mean that the referees are 'crooked' in any way, but with 60,000+ supporters roaring at you, you can't help but be a little bit swayed - however much you try. The last Brazil game (v. Colombia) was, however, appallingly refereed by Carlos Velasco Carballo of Spain. He was so lenient that the game became almost a free-for-all, with Brazil being the worst culprits. Fernandinho's treatment of James Rodriguez was scandalous, yet the Brazilian - who should have been sent off - didn't even get a yellow card. To add ironic insult to injury, the referee did book Rodriguez for a contactless tackle.

Brazil were able to complain afterwards about how Zuniga caused the injury to their Number Ten Neymar, but the referee did play an advantage in Brazil's favour and to book Zuniga would have been contrary to his handling of the game.

Incredibly, the referee did book Brazil's Thiago Silva for preventing the the Colombian goalkeeper from clearing the ball and kicking into the Colombian net. Considering the number and type of fouls going on in the rest of this game, that decision was laughable. But it had the very serious effect of banning Silva from the semi-final.

I have no doubt in my mind that FIFA have told referees to book as few players as possible to try and ensure that the 'big players' remain available for the later rounds. Carballo will be in trouble for getting Silva banned.

For the good of football, however, it would be better if referees clamped down on fouling and got the dirty players removed from matches.

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