Soccer can't fight technology

English defender John Terry (right) clears the ball during their Euro 2012 match against Ukraine on...

English defender John Terry (right) clears the ball during their Euro 2012 match against Ukraine on Tuesday. Replays show the ball actually crossed the goal-line. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 PM ET

DONETSK, UKRAINE - In the aftermath of Ukraine's "goal that wasn't" Tuesday against England, there has been a sudden outcry from fans claiming the goal shouldn't have counted anyway because the play was offside.

That is definitely accurate. There can be no arguing the officials at Donetsk's Donbass Arena blew that offside call.

At the same time, to say that the missed offside should make the debate irrelevant over whether the ball subsequently crossed the goal-line, well that's misguided logic, people.

We're talking apples and oranges here. They are two different issues.

Besides, two wrongs don't make a right.

Blown offside rulings happen in soccer all the time, just as in hockey. Doesn't make it right.

Remember the opening game of the Flyers-Penguins first-round series back in April? Officials clearly missed a flagrant offside that allowed Philadelphia's Daniel Briere to narrow the Pittsburgh lead to 3-1, a play that may have been the turning point in the Flyers winning the series.

How can it be fixed? That's a debate for another day.

The subject du jour is judging whether a ball crosses the goal-line, and the need for officials to get it right.

To recap: In the 62nd minute with England up 1-0, Marko Devic looped a ball over English goalie Joe Hart's head and appeared to be crossing the line for the tying goal when English defender John Terry made a lunging kick to clear it.

Based on the view from a TV camera that was even with the goal-line, the ball appeared to be deep enough for a goal, which would have tied the game 1-1.

If any good has come from the missed call, it is that instant replay finally might be on the way if you listen to FIFA head Sepp Blatter, who has been a stick-in-the-mud regarding the immediate need for goal-line technology.

After watching England-Ukraine, it appears Blatter now sees the urgency for change.

"After (that) match GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity," Blatter wrote on Twitter.

UEFA boss Michel Platini expected it would be pushed through.

"Yes, Blatter will do it," Platini told reporters in Warsaw. "He will (introduce) the technology, but I think it's a big mistake ... it's the beginning of the technology, the arrival of the technology."

Why is it a big mistake Mr. Platini? For those of us on hand to see the play Tuesday, your organization would have been spared a lot of egg on its face had goal-line technology/instant replay already been in place.

It's dinosaurs like you who keep holding the sport back.

ANOTHER FRENCH IMPLOSION

Will the French ever learn?

After a disgraceful showing at the 2010 World Cup in which they practically had a mutiny against management by refusing to get off the team bus, now comes word there were heated exchanges in the locker room after their disappointing 2-0 loss Tuesday to Sweden.

Here we go again.

"Yes, it got a bit heated, but then everyone had a cold shower," coach Laurent Blanc said. "It shows that there was a bit of electricity. I hope there will be (more electricity in the quarterfinal) against Spain, because we'll need it."

Veteran Florence Malouda admitted there was tension.

"Sometimes you need to aim a few bursts of gunfire at each other," he said. "We said quite a few things to each other afterward in the dressing room."

Will these guys ever learn?

They had better. Or else Spain will run them out of Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Saturday.

VIVA ITALIA?

No team in this tournament gave defending world champion Spain more fits than Italy did in a 1-1 draw during the opening game for both teams at Euro 2012.

When the Italians choose not to go into a defensive shell early in games, they can be very effective. They could cause a lot of damage in their quarterfinal matchup against an England team that must elevate its play from the 1-0 squeaker it posted over Ukraine.

Italy was one of four teams to go through the group stage undefeated, joining Spain, Germany and England.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/zeisberger


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