Two bad for England
By GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency
JOHANNESBURG -- Two-one. Two feet. Too bad.
Four-one. For Germany. Four more years.
Enough with the math. The two feet is the issue making headlines and it adds up to an embarrassment.
Soccer suffered another black eye in a game where Germany's dominance and obvious quality should have been the story.
Instead, it's marked by another missed call by culpable officials and FIFA's ignorance to do anything about it.
There are no ifs and/or buts here. Frank Lampard's first-half brace off the bar crossed the goal line. It crossed by a whole two feet. And two match officials -- the man in the middle of the park and the referee's assistant -- completely missed it.
From where I was sitting at midfield, the goal was clear as day. Also from my vantage point, both the referee and his linesmen were well out of place. The man in the middle, too, far down the field and completely square to the ball. And the linesman, way too far down the field left scrambling back. Neither man pointed to centre-field and thus both are at blame for missing such an obvious goal.
As they say in South Africa: Shame.
But even worse than another shameful excuse for officiating at this World Cup is FIFA's refusal to institute goal-line technology in the first place.
FIFA has the technology, but won't introduce it. The movement to bring goal-line technology into the game has been put on the back burner and/or been deemed unnecessary for too long.
Stalling and posturing as such does the game a disservice. It's time to stop protecting the officials and get the call right.
This isn't 1966, it's 2010. Technology is king. Not showing replays of controversial calls in the stadium is fruitless. The truth is a Blackberry or an iPhone away. And with more and more camera angles in high definition or even 3D, they should be doing more to help their officials get the calls right.
Spare them the embarrassment. Alleviate the massive pressure they're already under. The scrutiny of the job they're doing is real and warranted.
Yet FIFA keeps the status quo, supporting their officials unequivocally.
This blind faith in officials is getting nauseating. They make mistakes. Every referee will miss call during a match, but those shouldn't include the ball going over the line.
It's far too difficult to score goals at the highest level it's the ultimate insult when a good call isn't counted. I'm not advocating the use of widespread video replay. Just leave it at goal-line technology.
Refereeing needs to be open to some subjectivity. The fundamental nature of the game thrives off it. But there's nothing subjective about goals. They go in or they don't. Draw the line at using technology for determining proper goals or not, that's it.
England was a miserable side in South Africa and deserved to go home, but it certainly deserved better in this case. And spare me the Geoff Hurst, karma argument. Different time, different place, different context. It's the type of lazy argument journalists make, trying to be cute in telling their story.
Other such narrative coming from the Botchery at Bloemfontein will be substantial excuse mongering and what-if scenarios. Like if England's goal had counted, then what?
This isn't to say England would have come back and won the match. But a 2-2-tie heading into halftime with all kinds of momentum in England's favour changes the dynamic of the game.
Remember, this was a young, inexperienced German side looking shaky heading into the interval. And England, as improbable as it may seem now, could have built from what was a good stretch at the time.
Maybe this is what FIFA want all along -- fans of both sides talking and debating issues as such in the bars and pubs. Keep the narrative and debate going and you've captivated your fan base. All soccer talk is good, no matter the context.
For me, this argument makes a mockery of the game. Integrity needs to be paramount, not introspection.
You have to wonder because this injustice happened to England, whether any of the games power brokers within the U.K. will make a further push for goal line technology?
It's highly unlikely it would make a difference anyway. Right or wrong, FIFA answers to nobody in all matters soccer-related.
No accountability, no need for change.