Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

A proposal from Germany could help cut out diving


Referee Peter Walton could face a suspension from the Premier League list if it is decided he made a mistake in Monday’s 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Birmingham.

Walton reckoned Liverpool striker David Ngog had been fouled by Lee Carsley and ignored the protests of his Birmingham team mates before Steven Gerrard converted the spotkick. Even Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said afterwards he did not think it was a penalty.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Graham Poll is among those saying the FA must change the rules, arguing that if the referee can be banned for a mistake, players should be punished too. Under current FA rules, players who dive cannot face retrospective action if they were not booked for “simulation” during the game.

Maybe the FA could follow a recent German experiment. If a player was thought to have dived, the referee was instructed to ask him: “Did you dive?”

Vukcevic takes his shirt off, lets the side down


Has there ever been a more stupid and pointless sending off than  Simon Vukcevic’s dismissal for Sporting against Fiorentina in the Champions League play-off round on Tuesday night?

The 23-year-old Montenegro striker, booked for getting involved in a petty squabble with an opponent after 12 minutes, then scored after 58 minutes to put Sporting level at 1-1 after Fiorentina had taken an early lead.

Referee’s apology does little to calm Huracan


As Estudiantes bid to give Argentina the South American crown by winning the Libertadores Cup final, the fallout from Sunday’s Clausura title decider continues at an intensity not unlike that which followed Chelsea’s elimination by Barcelona in their Champions League semi-final.

It was not a final as such, but Huracan went into their last game of the season a point ahead of Velez Sarsfield who they happened to meet in a title decider at Velez. The home side got the win they needed to overtake Huracan on points with a goal scored by Maxi Moralez six minutes from time.

Chelsea lose their heads and their dignity


Maybe Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo was wrong on all the big decisions in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg — it absolutely does not justify Chelsea’s reaction.

UEFA’s “Respect” campaign was, again, left in tatters as pandemonium erupted after Andres Iniesta’s late equaliser sent Barcelona through on the away goals rule.

Lippi enters the Respect debate – but is he on the losing side?

One of the benefits of being a World Cup-winning manager is that nobody complains if you turn up at a party and start badmouthing the hosts – they’re too grateful you came in the first place.

Italy boss Marcello Lippi did that this week when he reprimanded his country’s professional footballers for their treatment of referees at a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of their union, the AIC.

Theatricals starting to spoil the football


Villa gets a yellow card

When I go to the theatre, I wouldn’t expect to see a soccer match break out on stage.
And so when I’m watching a soccer match I don’t want to see theatrics.

But watching the diving, feigned injuries and other nefarious attempts to fool the referee when Spain played against Italy in the quarter-finals made me wish both teams could somehow be eliminated.
It’s a beautiful game, but it was bad theatre and worse soccer. It was the first match of the tournament that I stopped watching after a while because the acting was putting me off.
Italy’s Luca Toni might be tall and intimidating when he runs towards the goal — and a likeable player at Bayern Munich — but several times it looked like it only took a gentle breeze to topple him in Vienna.

Euro 2008 referees: the team that can’t win


Referees pose

Football fans all love to hate referees … but getting close up and personal with them would change a lot of people’s opinions.

Meeting the refs and other match officials for Euro 2008 at their media open day at Regensdorf just north of Zurich was an illuminating experience.

Euro 2008 crackdown could spark penalties and cards galore

Flying elbows, mass punch-ups, mouthy players, shirt-tuggers and divers will be the main focus for referees when Euro 2008 kicks off in June.

UEFA handed a six-point list of instructions on Thursday to the 12 referees officiating at the tournament in Switzerland and Austria.

Mascherano shows shades of Rattin with petulant display


Mascherano protestsJavier Mascherano is in a long tradition of strong-charactered Argentine central midfielders going back to Antonio Rattin, and further.

Sadly, his petulance at Old Trafford in Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday recalls Rattin’s dismissal against England in the 1966 World Cup quarter-final at Wembley.