Friday 29 June 2012

Spain vs France: Observations and Impressions

The following incidents occurred during the Euro 2012 quarterfinal match between Spain and France on Saturday 23 June 2012. The match finished 2—0. There were 3 YCs.

In the 80' AR1 Renato Faverani makes a good offside call against Spain forward Fernando Torres (red). Here are the freeze frames:

Notice EAR1 assuming the Classic Cowboy Crouch (CCC) pose

In the 90' Referee Nicola Rizzoli awards a penalty, which is only the third penalty from 27 matches at the Euro championships so far (Note: the first penalty was in Match 1, with the next two being awarded over two weeks and over 20 matches later in Match 26 and now in this Match 27). Here are the freeze frames:

France (white) concede a late penalty

It is a clumsy challenge by France defender Reveillere (white 13) on Spain attacker Pedro (red 7). This is the Referee's probable viewing angle:

Note: This foul incident inside the penalty area is similar to the Balotelli—Pique incident during the Spain vs Italy group match where the Referee awarded a DFK to Pique, the defending player (but IMHO Pique fouled Balotelli from behind). The difference is that here Referee Rizzoli had a clear view (i.e. he did not have to stoop and peek around some players who were blocking his view, unlike Referee Viktor Kassai as mentioned here) and therefore it was a clear penalty.

EAR1 Gianluca Rocchi gives his impressions of Determination, Effort and Focus on the goal line:

How does the CCC poise of EARs compare with the standard SSS poise of ARs?

Key (as described here):
CCC = Classic Cowboy Crouch (adopted by Mark Clattenburg and other EARs)
SSS = Straight Soldier's Stance (used by all ARs)

The match officials were:
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Assistant referees: Renato Faverani (ITA), Andrea Stefani (ITA)
Fourth official: Craig Thomson (SCO)
Additional assistant referees: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)

Note: Spain's Fluid System A Joy To Watch When It Works
Turn away if you are NOT INTERESTED in team formations, fluidity and fantasy.

In the 19', Spain prod and probe and expose their French opponents to score a beautiful goal. Here are the freeze frames:

Xabi Alonso runs clean through the park and through the Portuguese midfield to apply the winning header

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Germany vs Greece: Observations and Impressions Part Two

The following incidents continue on from Part One of the Euro 2012 quarterfinal match between Germany and Greece on Friday 22 June 2012. The match finished 4—1. There were 2 YCs.

Nine: Greece's Equalizer Goal
In the 55' Greece counterattack down the right wing. AR1 Arhar has to sprint down the touch line to keep up with play. As usual, AR1 Arhar has his flag in his right hand and this is obviously not clearly visible to the Referee as the flag moves jerkily to and fro (compare this with Observation Five with AR2 Žunič in Part One). Here are the freeze frames:

Notice the movement and location of AR1's flag

As AR1 Arhar runs down the touch line towards the goal line, his flag is not clearly visible to Referee Skomina because he is holding it with his right hand

Ten: Good Assistance by AR2
In 67' Mesut Ozil (white 8) is fouled by Socratis Papastathopoulos (blue 19) right in front of AR2 Žunič, who flags it. Here are the freeze frames:

DFK to Germany (white)

Eleven: Good Preventive Officiating by AR2 and EAR2
Immediately following the foul by Greece, AR2 Žunič does well to prevent any further interaction between the two players. And EAR2 Matej Jug comes to help too. This is excellent preventive officiating displayed by the Slovenia assistants. Here are the freeze frames:

AR2 and EAR2 demonstrate preventive officiating and work well together

Socratis (blue 19) clearly trips Ozil (white 8) and yet he still claims Ozil dived. Notice how Socratis grabs Ozil's head with both hands. This is all part of gamesmanship and player dishonesty by Greece's Socratis, with the ulterior motive of inciting confrontation and possible violence and/or player theatrics. It was a clear foul and here are the freeze frames:

This is obviously a foul

Gamesmanship and player dishonesty 'naturally' exists at the competitive level. Furthermore, players may deliberately use this as a tactic to cause trouble which may potentially lead to mass confrontations, violence and then cautions or send offs. Referees and other match officials need to be aware, focused and proactive to these tricks. AR2 and EAR2 demonstrated great awareness of the situation and fine preventive officiating.

Subsequently from the DFK, Germany forward Miroslav Klose (white 11) rises to head the ball in to the net. The score is now 3—1, and Klose has scored his 64th international goal for Germany in 120 games.

Germany forward Klose (white 11) scores

Twelve: Penalty Decision
In the 88' Referee Skomina whistles for a penalty, and Greece's Vassilis Torossidis (blue 15) cheekily pats the Referee. Here are the freeze frames:

Greece's Torossidis (blue 15) cheekily pats Referee Skomina 

Note: remember the cheeky antics of Torossidis towards Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo in Euro 2012's opening match? Torossidis will show his appreciation only to decisions that go his way, and will laugh in the face of match officials when decisions go against him or his team.

End Note: Undignified Coin Toss Impression
Referee Skomina flips the coin and then everyone cranes their necks to peer at the coin landing at their feet.

Why do many Referees at the highest levels appear to prefer letting the coin fall to the ground? For instance, is it a custom in Slovenia to let the coin fall to the ground? How many Referees catch their coins? Englishman and Yorkshire man Howard Webb catches his coin tosses (see Webb's World Cup Final Coin Toss).

The match officials were:
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant referees: Primož Arhar (SVN), Matej Žunič (SVN)
Fourth official: Stéphane Lannoy (FRA)
Additional assistant referees: Slavko Vinčić (SVN), Matej Jug (SVN)