Bad Call Again? No Problem; Donovan Scores in Stoppage Time

The World Cup officials once again made their best attempt at costing the United States a game.  Luckily, they were unsuccessful.  Referee Koman Coulibaly cost the Americans a game last week against Slovenia and has since been demoted.  It almost happened again on Wednesday, but team U.S.A. was able to score in stoppage time to beat Algeria and secure a spot in the knockout round.  Had they not scored, the game probably would have ended in a tie.  With the way the England vs. Slovenia game went, it would have taken a miracle for the U.S. to advance if they played to another tie.  Check out the video of the World Cup refs blowing an offside call that cost Clint Dempsey and the United States a goal:

If you know anything about the rules of soccer, you know that play isn’t even close.  If not for Landon Donovan’s goal in stoppage time to give the U.S. a 1-0 victory, the officials would have faced epic backlash following the match.  But he did score, and because of that the Americans are moving through to the next round and have won their group for the first time since 1930. Here’s the video of Landon Donovan’s stoppage time goal

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Victory

Every team at the World Cup has a bus that’s painted with their country’s colors with a slogan written on the side.  For those of you who are slow, this is a photo of Team USA’s World Cup Bus that reads, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Victory!” As we all know, referee Koman Coulibaly’s blown call has made the third part of the phrase difficult, but the U.S. has to like their chances of advancing to the next round.  They’ll need a victory over  30th-ranked Algeria on Wednesday to seal the deal.  Here are some other notable — or I guess I should say unoriginal – phrases that are written on the sides of the World Cup buses:

Cameroon: ‘The Indomitable Lions are back’

Greece: ‘Greece is everywhere!’

Mexico: ‘It is time for a new champion!’

New Zealand: ‘Kickin it Kiwi style’

Uruguay: ‘The sun shines upon us. Go Uruguay!’

But the absolute kicker has to be France, who’s slogan reads, “All together for a new dream in blue.”  How’s that working out for you so far, boys?

Sports by Brooks Live
FIFA Bus Slogans [U.S. Soccer Blogs/The MNT Blog]
Photo: AP/Elise Amendola

Hilarious Flop Leads to Kaka’s Red Card

Brazil beat Ivory Coast 3-1 Sunday guaranteeing themselves a spot in the Knockout Stage. They were up 3-0 thanks to two goals by Luis Fabiano, one that could have involved the use of his hands, and the other set up by Kaka. Kaka was sent off in the 87th minute after getting his second yellow card which resulted in a red card. Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita ran into Kaka and flopped but somehow the penalty was called on Kaka. Check out this video of Kaka’s red card, the result of an embarrassing flop job:

All I have to say is it’s a good thing Shaq wasn’t on the receiving end of that flop otherwise you have no idea what might have been said.

Kaka Sent Off in 88th Minute after Ivory Coast Dive [You Been Blinded]
Video Credit: YouTube user muzztard

French Player to Coach: Go **** Yourself

The 2010 World Cup has turned out to be an absolute disaster for the French team. They had a scoreless draw with Uruguay in their first game and then they were shutout 2-0 by Mexico in their second game. At halftime of the Mexico game, French coach Raymond Domenech called out striker Nicolas Anelka who responded with some expletives. According to French reporter Erik Bielderman of L’Equipe who repeated the cuss words on ESPN, Anelka told the coach go f*** yourself and you son of a b****.

Anelka was thrown off the team because he refused to apologize for his profanity to the coach, and that led to a firestorm. The French team refused to practice and train on Sunday, resulting in team director Jean-Louis Valentin resigning. Fitness coach Robert Duverne got into a fight with team captain Patrice Evra and that had to be broken up by manager Domenech. Oh yeah, this team still has another Group A game to go against South Africa. Here’s a video of Patrice Evra’s argument with coach Robert Duverne and the team leaving the field:

French Reporter Keeps it Very Real on ESPN [You Been Blinded]
France continues infighting, refuse to train, director quits [Dirty Tackle]

FIFA Should Ax US-Slovenia Ref Coulibaly

On Friday the U.S. beat Slovenia with a final score of 3-2. Oh wait, no they didn’t. In the 86th minute of the match the U.S. scored but the goal wasn’t counted because of a mystery foul. Referee Koman Coulibaly still hasn’t explained who the foul was on or even what the foul was. Hmmm.

First off, I believe that the ref should have to announce what the foul was immediately after it happens. If he just got whistle-happy and can’t actually justify what was wrong with the play, then there should not be a foul. The U.S. had an amazing comeback on their hands and should have won the game. Instead they had to settle for a tie.

FIFA has pretty strict rules about reffing, especially in the World Cup. The referees for each game are required to hand over a post-game report which includes fouls and penalties. If Coulibaly’s mistake is indeed determined to be a game-costing error for the U.S., it’s likely that we won’t see him officiating any more games.

I don’t see any other option here really. I’m no soccer nut but I have re-watched this clip over and over trying to find something that would have justified the call. I am really looking forward to the official word on the incident and Coulibaly’s reasoning for the call. I have one thing to say to him though: If Jim Joyce can be a man and apologize for blowing Galarraga’s perfect game then Coulibaly should do the same.

Source: U.S.-Slovenia ref gets poor rating [Yahoo! Sports]

Wayne Rooney Upset With England Boos

Along with Spain and France, England has been one of the biggest disappointments at the 2010 World Cup. In addition to tying the U.S. 1-1 last weekend, the Brits wound up in a scoreless draw with Algeria on Friday. The two draws have England tied with the U.S. for second in Group C but luckily still in control of their destiny. Striker Wayne Rooney, already grumpy in South Africa, lashed out at England’s fans after the match. Here’s the video of Wayne Rooney calling out England’s fans as he exited the pitch:

In case you couldn’t catch Rooney’s words amidst the vuvuzelas or because of the accent, he said “Nice to see your home fans booing you. That’s loyal supporters.” I didn’t see enough of the match to know whether or not the boos were warranted, but England is under a lot of pressure from their fans and they haven’t played well so far. If Rooney’s upset that they were booing after a tie with Algeria, he better not be around to see the reaction of the fans if his team doesn’t even reach the knockout stage. Thanks to LBS tipster Blackjack for the heads up.

Video Credit: YouTube user JimmyTankMan

Ref Blows Call in U.S. vs Slovenia Match

Is it just me or are blown calls affecting the outcome of a ton of games lately?  Not long ago we had Jim Joyce’s missed call at first base that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.  Then, we moved on to the NBA Finals where there was an exceptional amount of whining going on by either side — much of it warranted.  On Friday, we saw a blown call on arguably a bigger stage than some of the others.  After trailing 0-2 against Slovenia at halftime, it appeared the U.S. World Cup squad was headed for a loss barring an unbelievable comeback.  The comeback they mounted was nothing short of that, as they knotted the game at 2-2 in the 82nd minute on a Landon Donovan score.

After a foul, the Americans were awarded a free kick at around the 85th minute in a spot that gave them a legitimate chance to take the lead.  Donovan placed the ball perfectly in front of the net and Maurice Edu nailed it in for what appeared to be the go-ahead score.  The goal was nullified after referee Koman Coulibaly called a foul and waved it off.  Check out the video of the blown call in the U.S.-Slovenia game that would have given the U.S. the lead, courtesy of Twitter user Dan Levy:

Not only was that not a foul on the U.S., but the American players were being severely held during the kick.  It’s huge that the U.S. was able to come away with a tie, but if not for poor officiating they would have ended up with one of the biggest comeback victories American soccer has ever seen.

Video Credit: Twitter user Dan Levy