Thursday 7 June 2012

Poor Petrescu's Poor Performance

Referee Silviu Petrescu (Romanian born, Canadian citizen) officiated the international friendly match between Brazil and Mexico on Sunday 3 June 2012. The match finished 0—2.

The news report mentioned a number of controversial incidents, and this post will highlight some match incidents so that lessons may be learned.

There are also some video highlights of the match on YouTube:
Brazil vs Mexico 0-2 - International Friendly Game 2012 - All goals & Highlights - 03.06.2012

Incident One: Tight Offside Call

In the 10', Brazil's Leandro Damiao scored from an attacking move but his goal was disallowed for offside. Here's the freeze frame:

Is the Brazil forward (yellow) offside?

Incident Two: First Penalty to Brazil … Missed

In the 20', Brazil's Hulk breaks away at the halfway line and charges into the penalty area. Referee Petrescu (blue) remains well behind play and subsequently misses the penalty decision. Here are the freeze frames:

Brazil's Hulk (yellow) is brought down in the penalty area

In the 22', Mexico's Giovani dos Santos scored a spectacular angled goal. 0—1
[Note: dos Santos is a Tottenham Hotspurs player, but manager Harry Redknapp does not appear to think he is good enough for the Spurs first team in the English Premier League. Despite this, dos Santos has consistently performed well at international level in recent years.]

Incident Three: Penalty to Mexico … Correct Call

In the 32', a Mexico player is fouled on the goal area line and the Referee has a good view of this. Here are the freeze frames:

Penalty awarded to Mexico
Referee Petrescu has his can of white spray paint (which is used in the MLS) but did not appear to use it at all during the match

Non-standard positioning of match officials during a penalty kick

The score is now 0—2 to Mexico, and the atmosphere is changed and charged because Brazil feel hard done by (a disallowed goal for an incorrect offside, and a missed penalty). These two technically-gifted teams begin to play more aggressively and physically.

Incident Four: Unfair Challenge by Brazil and DFK to Mexico … Missed

In the 37', Mexico's dos Santos is fouled (it is a tactical foul) by Brazil's defender but Referee Petrescu does not see anything suspect or wrong and allows the ball to run out of the pitch before allowing treatment to dos Santos. Here are the freeze frames:

Referee Petrescu does NOT award a DFK to Mexico

Incident Five: Unfair Challenge by Mexico and DFK to Brazil … Correct Call

In the 49', Mexico foul Brazil (this is similar to Incident Four) and this time the Referee makes the correct call. Here are the freeze frames:

Referee Petrescu does award a DFK to Brazil

Incident Six: Second Penalty to Brazil … Missed

In the 53', Brazil's forward runs into the penalty area and the Mexican goalkeeper challenges for the ball. It is an obvious penalty but Referee Petrescu remains well behind play and makes a poor call. The Referee calls for a goal kick, which means the Referee knows the Brazilian attacker touched the ball ahead of the goalkeeper. So why wasn't a penalty awarded? Here are the freeze frames:

Mexico goalkeeper (blue) brings down a Brazil forward (yellow)

"No penalty; goal kick to Mexico"

This does not excuse the way Brazilian players surrounded the Referee though.

Incident Seven: Poor Advantage Leads to More Ill-Feelings Amongst Players

In the 82', Mexico foul Brazil and it appears Referee Petrescu plays advantage (Note: Referee Petrescu does not use the standard signal for Advantage, which is why it only appears that he has played Advantage). Here are the freeze frames:

About four seconds after Mexico's foul, Referee Petrescu points with his right arm and apparently signals "Advantage"
There is no "Advantage" because Brazil captain Marcelo is eventually forced back
Eleven seconds after Mexico's foul, the ball eventually goes out for a Brazil throw-in. But there is now a little scuffle ...

 Referee Petrescu has lost control of the situation

This is what happened during the scuffle ...

 Referee Petrescu sees Mexico (green #13) grab Brazil (yellow #11) by the throat ...

... and then has to jump up to avoid the Brazil player who has fallen to the ground

This is perhaps the fastest Referee Petrescu has moved and reacted all match! Look how he leaps and lands to avoid stepping on Neymar (Brazil #11).

However, this situation offered poor Advantage because, even though Brazil kept possession, there was obviously no opportunity to advance (hence there was "No Advantage").

Referee Petrescu's inability to feel and react to the atmosphere of the match meant that, by attempting to play advantage, the Referee actually made things worse. Mexico, having gotten away with many physical challenges, thought that they could continue in this vein because the Referee wasn't always blowing up for fouls. This also frustrated Brazil since they perceived the Referee wasn't helping their cause by making bad calls (such as playing poor advantages and missing two obvious penalty calls to Brazil). All this tension led to the spat between two players and a send-off incident (Mexico #13 grabbing Brazil #11 by the throat) that Referee Petrescu ignored.

Referee Silviu Petrescu gave a poor performance in this absorbing match. It was also a FIFA-sanctioned match which is why it was puzzling to see the Referee carrying a can of white spray paint on the FOP. It was however apparently not used.

Petrescu has been a FIFA Referee since 2002. It would be interesting to gauge his performance over this ten-year period to see how he measures up to being an international Referee during the "modern era" of the beautiful game.

1 comment:

  1. Petrescu has always been a man management guy in MLS. He reminds me of a Phil Dowd in England. Doesn't always look to be in the best shape but usually gets the respect of the players in MLS.

    However, since I doubt he speaks Spanish or Portuguese it makes the man management approach difficult.