A few seconds after the 77th minute of the match the 1.4 million koreans who were out in the streets of Seoul since 4 am uttered a shocked "What !!?!!" in unision. 10,000+ kilometers away, I jumped out my chair and also yelled "What !!?!!"
Horacio Elizondo, a referee from Argentina who was officiating the Korea vs Switzerland World Cup match, had awarded a goal to Swiss player Alexander Frei. The offside flag that had been raised by the referee assistant Rodolfo Otero, was ignored by Elizondo.
The korean defence had already stopped pursuing the ball and covering the swiss players. The play was an obvious offside and the offside flag had also been raised by an official. But Frei did not stop. He dodged the Korean goalie's blocking attempt and lightly kicked the ball into the goal.
Of course, this is an offside. Of course this will be waived off... wait... what... this is a goal ? The referee is gesturing that this is a goal ? What !!??!!
The replay shows that the ball was kicked towards the goal by a Swiss player. It deflected off a Korean defenceman and then went straight to Frei who ran with it and scored the goal. You can see the official raise the offside flag when Frei touched the ball. FIFA regulations also state that deflections, off the goalie, post, or opposing player, do not count as possession by the opposing team, ergo the pass by the swiss player deflected off the Korean defenceman was clearly an offside. BBC Sports Academy has a good illustration of this scenario.
Bah, whats the point of complaining about it now. No matter how much people complain the decision cannot and will not be overturned. It was a controversial and stupid decision though. The referee also handed out 10 yellow cards during the 90 minutes of play; 5 to each team. Ugh.
The Italy vs USA match was also full of stupid referee decisions; 4 yellow cards and 3 red cards. I hate it when referees take over the game and control the flow. That is not how the World Cup should be played :(
I'm hoping for a Germany vs Brazil final with Germany as the victor. For the Quarterfinals I'd like to see Germany, Argentina, Australia, Ukraine, England, Portugal, Brazil, and Spain compete amongst themselves. The Germany/Sweden, Italy/Australia, and Spain/France matches are sure to be highly entertaining. The Aussie Socceroo's have also been very impressive so far; 3 goals in 5 minutes when playing against Japan and this is their first world cup appearance in 32 years. I would be so happy if they knock-off Italy from the tournament.
If lunato and I cannot be in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup then we definitely want to be in South Korea when the Korean "Taeguk Warriors" restart their World Cup dream. Just look at these massive crowds!!