FanDuel - WFBC

June 17, 2006

USA World Cup ratings: rose 65 percent over the 2002 tournament. Of course a lot of that has to do with live coverage rather than crappy tape delays in 2002.

posted by riffola to soccer at 09:14 AM - 74 comments

"Part of it is that more people are watching soccer," Nwulu said. "The U.S. is a much better team this year, so people are more interested in something that the U.S. might win." Don't tell me... they're ranked #5 in the world, right?

posted by afx237vi at 10:07 AM on June 17

Univision said its first eight games were watched by an average of 2.6 million viewers, 1.7 million more than the average of the 2002 tournament's opening weekend audience. I wonder how much of that has to do with the rise in the Hispanic population in the US over the past four years?

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:12 AM on June 17

Team USA didn't show me much last game. I just wonder is this another Bodie Miller let down?

posted by Dammit at 10:47 AM on June 17

I expect Team USA to be much better today, after Arena gave them a roasting this week. Arena changed his team, suddenly, for the first game in WC2002 and it worked. He made some changes for the first game this time and it didn't. I anticipate a reshaped and re-energised side today, but sadly I still don't think it'll be enough.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:00 AM on June 17

"Part of it is that more people are watching soccer," Nwulu said. "The U.S. is a much better team this year, so people are more interested in something that the U.S. might win." Remember that Public Enemy song that went,"Don't beleive the hype!"

posted by pepitothechihuahua at 11:01 AM on June 17

I wonder how much of that has to do with the rise in the Hispanic population in the US over the past four years? Yeah, all those babies most be viewing all these great games!

posted by zippinglou at 11:09 AM on June 17

I expect Team USA to be much better today, after Arena gave them a roasting this week. Guys, for the US to beat Italy in soccer, would be comparable to Italy beating the US in Baseball! -It's Not Going to Happen! ... and by the way Ghana is playing the Czechs... the US will most probably not win a game this World Cup! So much for a 5th World Rank!

posted by zippinglou at 11:11 AM on June 17

Did you read the rest of my post, Zipping? I realise it's not the done thing to read the whole of posts, but give it a try! "I anticipate a reshaped and re-energised side today, but sadly I still don't think it'll be enough."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:14 AM on June 17

Guys, for the US to beat Italy in soccer, would be comparable to Italy beating the US in Baseball! -It's Not Going to Happen! I second that...but them winning against the Italians would be a nice upset...just don't compare it to 1980 Olympics with Team USA beating the Soviets in Hockey (like I initially wanted to...but that would be us beating Brazil).

posted by chemwizBsquared at 11:17 AM on June 17

The US are in a tough group this tournament. Likely playing for points rather than to advance, before a game kicked off. I hope that won't put too many off watching soccer though, there's still a lot of tasty football to watch even if your team is never likely to win. Being English and born after '66, I know all about that.

posted by walrus at 11:35 AM on June 17

soccer is not in the us blood they got thier ass whup it would be nice to see to beat the italians

posted by defrag3x at 12:11 PM on June 17

soccer is not in the us blood they got thier ass whup Nothing like stereotyping your own conurtymen, genius. I hope that won't put too many off watching soccer though, there's still a lot of tasty football to watch... I've learned since Monday how much I truly enjoy the game, no matter what happens to my country. Of course it will be more enjoyable if Ghana and the US both get a result today, but I still... LOVE THIS GAME.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:19 PM on June 17

well its true not much soccer plays in the us i would like to see more americans watch and play soccer i know we got a couple soccer teams in the us but people dont really care until the world cup

posted by defrag3x at 12:25 PM on June 17

Of course a lot of that has to do with live coverage rather than crappy tape delays in 2002. Em...the vast majority were live, save the last group games when kick-offs are simultaneous and tape delay is in order. You see, the earth is round, and it rotates, so when it's daylight in America, it's nighttime in Asia, and...

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:26 PM on June 17

Holy crap, he's still breathing.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:27 PM on June 17

lol texas

posted by defrag3x at 12:28 PM on June 17

i would like to see more americans watch and play soccer Then get out of your bubble; no sport is played by more Americans, and someone's watching MLS and NCAA games, in large and ever-growing numbers. It's already hugely popular in the States. If the Jim Romes of this world (and their ilk) would lift their faces out of their bowls of powdered ignorance and acknowledge that basic fact, then this long-dead lie would stop being perpetuated.

posted by chicobangs at 12:59 PM on June 17

Glad you have a good sense of humor, defrag...I was just kidding and it's good you picked that up. 43 minutes and counting...

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:17 PM on June 17

It's already hugely popular in the States. Soccer is gaining in popularity, but let's not leap to completely indefensible hyperbole. As you can see from these numbers, in what should be a huge market in a huge facility, the MLS-leading Los Angeles Galaxy have a median attendance number of just under 25,000 people. Many other teams, including Chicago, have a median below 15,000 and are stagnant or dropping -- in fact, LA is more than 10,000 above almost every other franchise. As for youth programs, yes, there are a lot of children playing soccer -- and none of it seems to be translating into a desire to patronize or follow soccer once they've finished playing, does it? I'm not slamming soccer. I've found myself enjoying the World Cup coverage, but when it's over, I'll go back to ignoring it again, and it's not going to supplant the MLB, NFL, NBA, NASCAR or even the NHL. You know what? Frank DeFord can say all this a hell of a lot better than I can.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:28 PM on June 17

DeFord should stick to horseshoes or lawn darts... something he actually knows something about. What a tool. That article pretty much speaks volumes about DeFord's ignorance and utter lack of imagination.

posted by psmealey at 02:44 PM on June 17

I wouldn't call it "completely indefensible." We've had discussions before about how attendance at MLS games, while not comparable to NFL games (even if there are only eight of those a year), are certainly up to the same levels as most Euro club sides. And that's from essentially a standing start only a decade ago. "Completely." "Indefensible." TV ratings for the world cup, as the top link states, are up by two-thirds. Just because Frank Deford (a fine writer, but also a crotchety old fart) doesn't want a new sport to infringe on the regular yearly routine of his golden years doesn't mean people aren't buying into MLS in vastly growing numbers. If you're not one of those people, that's fine. No one's holding a gun to your head to watch it past next month. But to call the point that soccer is a significant cultural concern that crosses class, language and geography "completely indefensible" is unnecessarily dismissive.

posted by chicobangs at 03:04 PM on June 17

The referee in the Italy v. USA game is making his bid to go down in the history books. Only one red card has been deserved in this game so far in my opinion, and he's given three before half time.

posted by walrus at 03:06 PM on June 17

Moreover, it's in part because of closed minded pricks in the media like DeFord (and Jim Rome) who relish throwing wet blankets on a game they don't really understand, that the game does not take off as it could.

posted by psmealey at 03:09 PM on June 17

"Univision said its first eight games were watched by an average of 2.6 million viewers, 1.7 million more than the average of the 2002 tournament's opening weekend audience. I wonder how much of that has to do with the rise in the Hispanic population in the US over the past four years?" Probably about 1.7 million.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 03:11 PM on June 17

The red card on Mastroeni and Pope's second yellow were rubbish calls. Maybe the Azzuri have some money riding on the result, and the ref also has a stake in it?

posted by psmealey at 03:16 PM on June 17

Just realised, I've mistated my post above. I meant to say that he's given three reds in the first half of the game (the third coming on 46 minutes), but my brain has mangled it to "before half time".

posted by walrus at 03:17 PM on June 17

I wonder if the ref has the common goddamn courtesy to give our poor guys reach arounds after that anal raping. It's a shame we don't have any hooligans over there to wait outside the stadium and kick the living shit out of him. Let's hope fifa makes this game this dumbasses last. The Fix is in.

posted by RyanJSchultz1 at 03:20 PM on June 17

psmealey: the card for Rossi was spot on though. Onside goal (by the current rules) disallowed for the US as well. I doubt it really is a fix, but it's certainly atrocious officiating.

posted by walrus at 03:21 PM on June 17

Amen it was, walrus. Rossi's foul was a cheap shot, and deserved every bit the sending off he got.

posted by psmealey at 03:24 PM on June 17

Whatever the result, I'm proud of our guys. I have never seen a US team take it to an elite European side as physcially as they have been doing all day.

posted by psmealey at 03:26 PM on June 17

Common USA, make the miracle happen!!!!!

posted by zippinglou at 03:28 PM on June 17

Where the hell is Claudiio? He has been invisible since making a few errant passes early in the 1st half. On the other hand, Donovan has played with the heart of a lion. Terrific showing for him.

posted by psmealey at 03:38 PM on June 17

Wheres Eddie Lewis been? Wasn't he creating all kinds of chances against the Czech?

posted by RyanJSchultz1 at 03:42 PM on June 17

Odd that Arena didn't try to get some fresh legs in at the end. Guess he saw the Italians pressing the last 10 minutes and decided a draw was good enough. So.... for the US to advance, they need to beat Ghana, and Italy needs to beat Czech. That's doable, but still a bit of a long shot. If the Italians draw the Czechs they will still likely move on, so they probably won't play for the win.

posted by psmealey at 03:54 PM on June 17

True, the American side has nothing whatsoever to be ashamed about, but that was a horrible game. I truly hope Bruce Arena says something that will get him fined. I would if I were him.

posted by chicobangs at 04:01 PM on June 17

"So.... for the US to advance, they need to beat Ghana, and Italy needs to beat Czech." Might sound a tall order, but if they play with that kind of commitment it could still happen. I doubt Italy will be complacent enough to play for a draw: if the Czech Republic got a late goal to steal it and Ghana won or the US put on a big score against Ghana (less likely IMO) then Italy would be out, so they have to play for the win if they want to avoid a third successive disaster in International competition.

posted by walrus at 04:01 PM on June 17

The ref was an absolute idiot, which is a shame because it would've been a very good game otherwise. For a little bit, I feared we were about to see some six on six action. After Mastroeni got sent off, I could've sworn Marcelo Balboa was going to jump out of the booth directly on the field and kick his ass - samurai style.

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:03 PM on June 17

I'm not slamming soccer. I've found myself enjoying the World Cup coverage, but when it's over, I'll go back to ignoring it again ... Get Fox Soccer Channel and try following the Premiership and FA Cup this fall. The U.S. was one offsides call from doing the impossible and scoring with nine men. That would've been a shock-the-world upset, but the draw's a nice accomplishment after that atrocious officiating.

posted by rcade at 04:24 PM on June 17

The red card on Mastroeni and Pope's second yellow were rubbish calls. Maybe the Azzuri have some money riding on the result, and the ref also has a stake in it? Mastroeni went in with both feet, spikes high. That's a major no-no in FIFA now, and I thought it was very deserving of the red card. Pope's second yellow was a bit suspect. Onside goal (by the current rules) disallowed for the US as well. I doubt it really is a fix, but it's certainly atrocious officiating. The ball almost hit the foot of the off-side player before reaching the keeper, so it's a legitimate call by the linesman.

posted by grum@work at 04:25 PM on June 17

We've been mocking Kasey Keller in Spofi Chat all week, but he had a good game today, and in the postgame interview, he was absolutely livid at the referee and the way Italy played, which was good to see. You got the feeling, even as exhausted as they were, they'd have been happy to turn right around and play Ghana right now.

posted by chicobangs at 04:27 PM on June 17

Mastroeni went in with both feet, spikes high. That's a major no-no in FIFA now, and I thought it was very deserving of the red card. Could be, but I have seen a half dozen or so similar tackles in the tournament so far, and they all got yellow cards. This referee was pure shite.

posted by psmealey at 04:29 PM on June 17

The first red was a red under FIFA's rules, but here on planet Earth it barely warranted a yellow. The second red was two yellows and so... meh, but the goal was certainly offside. It virtually went through McBride's legs on the way in. I said I expected a different US team today and I got it - it's just a shame the game went the way it did, so we couldn't see what that side was capable of. Anyone who fancies the Yanks on Thursday should remember that Owlhouse is offering fifty bucks to people who will take the US over Ghana.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:33 PM on June 17

I'm extremely proud of our guys, except for Beasley. Playing 28 minutes, he couldn't have done less if his feet were clumped in cement. And McBride was offside on the goal. I know we've seen this before but it's worth a repeat: A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: interfering with play or interfering with an opponent or gaining an advantage by being in that position. The ball rolled across his left foot and he was standing in front of Buffon. Unlucky but no less offside. We're still in it and that's all we can ask after Monday's fizzle.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 04:33 PM on June 17

The problem is that refs are not showing consistency. In many of the games so far, worse tackles have been made than Mastroeni's without a straight red being shown. I did not personally think there was any intent, it was just badly timed, but the referee has chosen to interpret it as reckless. This in itself is not necessarily wrong, but inconsistent in my opinion with other decisions in the competition. In Pope's case, a stiff word would have sufficed for the second challenge: I thought the combination of two cards was harsh. Texan: there's no way I can believe Buffon was distracted by McBride, so advantage wasn't gained in my opinion. It probably shows how silly the rule is though, that different officials have been interpreting similar situations differently all last season. In some cases I have seen the same official interpret almost identical situations differently in the same game!

posted by walrus at 04:40 PM on June 17

This was a terrible game. The US seemed intent on letting the Italians know they were there, fair enough, but you have to play within the rules of the game. They didn't. They were constantly fouling. Pope could've been double yellow-carded way before he actually was. The Italian deserved his red card, and should be banned from the rest of the World Cup. And the rest of the Italians should be ashamed of the way they played. They dived and joined in with the US in making silly fouls. As for the disallowed goal, it was clearly offside; the ball possibly touched the player (forget his name) but he was also blocking the goalie's view, thus interfering in play. I started watching this game as a neutral, I finished it hoping both could do the impossible and lose.

posted by Fence at 04:48 PM on June 17

We've been mocking Kasey Keller in Spofi Chat all week Cisse Chico! I've been mocking Lalas, not Keller... don't tell me I've been mocking the wrong guy all this time!

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:06 PM on June 17

To be fair, I only saw the first 45 minutes, so I can't comment on the outcome, but in my view both red cards in the first half were warranted. The Italian one was a complete disgrace. A nasty, pre-meditated cheap-shot, and as Fence says, he should get a lengthy ban. Mastroeni's red was less clear-cut, but whichever way you look at it, he slid in extremely late, absolutely nowhere near the ball, with his studs showing. That is a straight red card, and it doesn't matter whether similar tackles haven't been punished, this ref got it right. In fact, you could probably argue that it was a red even without contact - the fact that he got a chunk of the Italian's ankle just strengthens the case.

posted by afx237vi at 05:10 PM on June 17

Ahhh, pants... by "first red" up there I meant America's first red, not the Italian red, which was fully justified.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:28 PM on June 17

U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A This is the first year I've followed the World Cup, after the embarrassing loss i was a little turned off but I stuck around because of the National pride. This game is good!!

posted by buffalo will never win at 06:44 PM on June 17

This is the first year I've followed the World Cup, after the embarrassing loss i was a little turned off but I stuck around because of the National pride. This game is good!! Now that you realize that you're more than welcome to jump off the winners-only bandwagon and become a real fan.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 06:52 PM on June 17

In June 2003, during a Confederations Cup match in France, he awarded Turkey a controversial penalty kick and Turkey scored again later on a play that appeared to be offsides. Larrionda was banned for six months in 2002 by his country’s soccer federation for unspecified “irregularities.” Two days before the suspension he had been chosen to officiate at the 2002 World Cup, which he was then forced to miss. This quote is from a NYTimes article about the match today concerning referee Jorge Larrionda. How in the world did someone with this reputation get a spot on the books at the biggest tournament in the world? The entire article is HERE

posted by Ricardo at 08:31 PM on June 17

Another thing.... I think the reason Pope got the second yellow was because the referee didn't realize at first he already had a yellow. He seemed to pause for a second and looked at his book after the card and that was when he realized it.

posted by Ricardo at 08:41 PM on June 17

Although the referee's actions were frustrating, I am slightly more concerned with the fact that the US team failed to find the goal for the second straight match. I'm not sure how we're supposed to beat Ghana unless they let us stick Brian McBride right in front of their goalie all game.

posted by Venicemenace at 08:50 PM on June 17

The ref sucked, our boys showed they belong on the field and Bruce Arena showed he's reached his limit as our coach. That he kept the third sub in his pocket when everyone on the field was out of gas and vulnerable to counters is something I simply don't understand. No matter the results Thursday we cannot do better than second in the group. Meaning that even if we move on, unless something seriously strange happens--Croatia wins out and Brazil don't win at least one more--we get Brazil and go home. My answer is that Bruce Arena has done a very good job running the team but after 6 1/2 years he's done what he can. To get to the next level as a national side we need to bring in a coach who's won at that level; in other words, someone from Brazil/Argentina or Europe. I hear Jurgen Klinsmann might be available in mid-July and the scandal might mean Fabvio Capello is looking for a break from the Italian media.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:13 PM on June 17

Refs were bad, yes. With the record that Larrionda has, he shouldn't be in any position to alter a game at this level of competition. While I appreciate the outcome being favorable for good ol' Team America (Fuck Yeah!), it concerns me that we can't find the back of the net, and when we do, it doesn't count. If not for some sloppy work by Zaccardo, we've got two losses and it's all over. I also must agree that it's probably time for Arena to hang it up. When USA Soccer is fully developed and actually deserving a top five ranking, we'll all look back at Bruce with warm feelings and remember how he nurtured our game on the international stage, but he's reached his limit in my worthless opinion. The first Ghana goal earlier against the Czechs? Brilliance.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:26 PM on June 17

I have a hunch Jurgen Kilnsmann would take the job in a heartbeat.

posted by chicobangs at 09:29 PM on June 17

Not that I'm a huge Arena fan, but exactly what has Klinsmann won at the international level (as a coach)? What has Capello won at the international level? They aren't any more proven than Arena is (arguably much less so, really.)

posted by tieguy at 09:31 PM on June 17

Does a coach make that much difference? Every team seems to have some old white guy on the sidelines. We have retirement homes in the States; try to find an old Brit.

posted by yerfatma at 11:16 PM on June 17

I think the reason Pope got the second yellow was because the referee didn't realize at first he already had a yellow. He seemed to pause for a second... I think Reyna said something to the effect of "second yellow" to the ref and that's when he reached for the red. The second half had just begun and it didn't look like the ref realized what he had done. I certainly can't disagree with the Arena comments, especially not using all three subs. The guys could barely walk the last 10 minutes, much less run, and you've got Lewis, Albright, Berhalter and Olsen sitting on the bench for defensive relief. And with Beasley was offering nothing going forward after the non-goal, why not slot him more centrally in defense where the real danger is. Bad tactics and in the end we should feel fortunate with a point. One coach who hasn't been mentioned who I think will be available: Guus Hiddink. He seems to get the most out of second and third tier teams.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 11:22 PM on June 17

Sorry Texan, Hiddink has already agreed to take over the Russian national team after the 2006 World Cup.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:42 PM on June 17

I forgot about Russia. Maybe El Tel would like a holiday stateside. Or Martin O'Neill. It's late and I'm punch drunk. Adios.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:11 AM on June 18

"Does a coach make that much difference?" Doh!

posted by walrus at 03:40 AM on June 18

Klinsmann is a natural fit for the job given that he actually lives in America, bit tieguy is right, he hasn't achieved much at the international level, other than make the German national team a little bit more interesting to watch (if not a better team). What about Glen Hoddle? He's a religious freak, he might actually be more comfortable in the US. ;-)

posted by psmealey at 07:15 AM on June 18

The second half had just begun and it didn't look like the ref realized what he had done. I'm not defending this former World Cup ref's game, but in the abstract, isn't it better officiating not to think about who already has a yellow? Giving a player with one yellow more slack goes against the intent of the rule.

posted by rcade at 07:37 AM on June 18

"I'm not defending this former World Cup ref's game, but in the abstract, isn't it better officiating not to think about who already has a yellow? Giving a player with one yellow more slack goes against the intent of the rule." It's what the best refs do week in and week out, use a little bit of patience and understanding in order to control the game without ruining it by sending half the players off. A card happy ref is never going to last long in this game: you can achieve much more by showing that you have authority when it's needed but dealing with 50-50s with a word in the ear. After all, it's not about enforcing rules for the sake of it, but having good, flowing football without disciplinary problems. Collina is one of the best refs in recent memory and often a look into his eyes could acheive more than a yellow card. No-one would mess with him on the pitch because they knew he was firm but fair. The other thing to bear in mind is that it's a fast-paced contact sport and a mistimed tackle can look worse to the untrained eye than it actually is. The refs should be experienced enough to divine intent, not hand out cards all over the place for genuine mistakes. After thirty years of watching soccer, and being a strict neutral on this game (if anything I'm actually biased towards Italy), I'm more than happy to say that was a bad ref and he cost the USA a possible victory.

posted by walrus at 09:04 AM on June 18

I know I'm late to this, but I saw this in the DeFord piece: It is not for us to feel guilty that we are out of step. Rather, it is for us to feel sorry for the rest of the world that it is not lucky enough to have games as good as the ones we have. What a breathtakingly arrogant ass. Anyway. The ref in the US match was indeed a horribly bad ref; discretion is definitely an important part of a referee's game, and Larrionda showed none. Frustrating.

posted by Toxteth O'Grady at 12:16 PM on June 18

I'm not defending this former World Cup ref's game, but in the abstract, isn't it better officiating not to think about who already has a yellow? Giving a player with one yellow more slack goes against the intent of the rule. In the purest sense of officiating, this is true. But as walrus correctly (as usual) states, it's not about enforcing rules for the sake of it, but having good, flowing football without disciplinary problems. I think a good ref has to consider the foul (Pope's) and the match in it's entirity for proper context: Is this game particularly dirty and hot-tempered (this one wasn't), is the foul a yellow on it own merits (debatable), is the foul worthy of a sending off (no)? If you have a look at Pope's tackle, he grazes the ball and Gilardino's left foot simulataneously, and the dirty, cheating, diving fuck play-acts into getting Pope sent off. Gilardino is just as complicit as the referee. Mastroeni's card I have no problem with. While it's true comparable tackles throughout the tournament haven't resulted in a direct red, he stomped on Pirlo's ankle with his studs and the ejection was justified. De Rossi's red needs no further explanation.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:20 PM on June 18

does anybody know if Jan Koller will be playing for the Czechs against Italy?

posted by the don at 03:43 PM on June 18

I don't think Koller or Baros will be available for Thursday's game.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:56 PM on June 18

Klinsmann was just off the top of my head to get discussion going, though he did win the cup as a player and we'll see how far he gets the Germans this time. Capello has lead Juventus to four Serie A titles in the last five seasons and I think that's strong enough to top Arena's resume, though if he'd taken one Champions League to go with the four domestics it would be stronger. From all the replays I saw, McBride was about as close to perfectly positioned as could be to tap the ball in if Zaccardo had been able to guide the ball wide instead of in. So I don't count that as entirely lucky or unearned.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:17 PM on June 18

What walrus said. While there's always a problem for refs to adapt to FIFA directives, the good ones (such as the now-retired Collina) triangulate those directives with the teams playing and the way a particular match develops. The problem with the first round matches is that you'll get officials who, frankly, haven't had sufficient exposure to top-level, high-pressure games. Pope was a marked man going into the break. It was more or less inevitable that he'd walk at some point in the second half, and the only surprise was that it took about a minute.

posted by etagloh at 06:13 PM on June 18

I still think it wasn't necessarily a lack of patience on Larriondas' part which got Pope sent off. It appeared he thought "Hey, bad tackle...that deserves a yellow card" and when he went to write Pope in the book, he noticed he was already there, hence the red card. He didn't have a choice at that point. It's not like he can take the second yellow back. In my opinion, that is incompetent and much worse than an impatient referee.

posted by Ricardo at 09:02 AM on June 19

Bruce Arena was just on the tube, saying he felt the Pope sending off was a bit harsh, but that Mastroeni "positioned himself for a red card."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:48 AM on June 19

I have watched the game a couple of times now, and I have to agree with the Mastroeni red card. It was a careless tackle, and he did deserve a red. Both Pope yellows were marginal... at least to the point that I agree he should have been verbally cautioned before getting sent off. What was glaringly apparently was the ridiculous number of fouls that he called in the first half that weren't really fouls. I presume he meant to take control of what clearly was developing into a physical match, but we really blew the whistle over a half dozen times when play should have been allowed to continue. Contrast this to last half of the second half, when he let play continue and ignored fouls that he was consistenly calling and carding in the first half. This was some terrible officiating that went both ways at first, and nearly did ruin what was turning into a very fast-moving, athletic contest. At the end, when Larriondas finally lost his whistle, it was some exciting stuff, but it played very much to Italy's 10-9 advantage.

posted by psmealey at 12:03 PM on June 19

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.