Sepp says sorry about refereeing balls-ups; Mirror journalist arrested over dressing room intrusion incident; Japan fall to Paraguay on penalties; Spain win Iberian battle to advance to quarter finals; philosopher lectures footballers on ethics.
After Fifa’s steadfast refusal to discuss the use of technology in football on Monday, Fifa president Sepp Blatter did a flip-flop on his previous position on Tuesday and said the organisation would rethink its attitude – but only on goal-line technology, and only after the tournament. Blatter has apologised to the English and Mexican football federations about the two atrocious decisions that saw those sides make an early exit from the World Cup. (He hasn’t apologised to South Africa for the fact that keeper Khune was sent off even though Uruguayan striker Suarez was offside, but hey, we’re just the hosts.) Meanwhile, The Guardian website has set up a poll asking: “Do you accept Sepp Blatter’s apology?” So far, only 25% of those casting their vote have said “yes”. Seems “sorry” isn’t good enough.
British journalist Simon Wright was arrested on Monday with police national commissioner General Bheki Cele claiming Wright had been involved in “orchestrating” the fan’s intrusion into the England dressing room after their match against Algeria. Cele says the incident involved “the co-operation of a number of individuals”, although no one else has yet been named. Wright, who works for The Daily Mirror, was charged with defeating the ends of justice and contravening the Immigration Act. He was released on R3,000 bail after appearing in a special World Cup Court. Meanwhile, his newspaper is standing by him, with a spokesman saying that Wright had “conducted himself perfectly properly as he would have here in the UK”. It’s going to be intriguing to see if The Daily Mirror’s standards of conduct are universal.
Paraguay vs Japan was the first match of the 2010 World Cup to be decided by penalties, after neither side managed to score in regular or extra time. Paraguay won the penalty shoot-out 5-3, after Yuichi Komano hit the crossbar. It’s a horrible way for any team to exit the tournament, and the Blue Samurai were visibly upset after the match. They can still hold their heads high though – before the tournament journalists and the public poured scorn on coach Takeshi Okada, forecasting that Japan would fail to win a single match. He’s certainly shown his detractors a thing or two. Paraguay, meanwhile, have made it through to their first World Cup quarter final ever.
Spain ousted Portugal in the battle of the Iberian Peninsula, advancing to the quarter finals with a 1-0 score line. The Spanish join The Netherlands and Germany as the only three remaining European teams in the competition. As so often in this tournament, a goalkeeper starred, with Portugal’s Eduardo pulling off some brilliant saves to ensure that the score differential wasn’t any greater. However, he couldn’t stop Villa’s goal in the 63rd minute, and that was all it took for La Roja to win the game. The Spanish will meet Paraguay on Saturday to play for a spot in the semi-finals.
Peter Singer, an Australian philosopher who specialises in applied ethics, has written an essay reprinted in The Guardian lamenting the questionable the ethics of footballers. Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal for England vs Germany on Saturday has reignited the debate on goal-line technology, but another, equally important debate, concerns the actions of players, rather than referees. Germany’s goal keeper Manuel Neuer subsequently admitted he saw the goal was good, and Singer characterises his behaviour succinctly. “To put it bluntly: Neuer cheated, and then boasted about it.” As Singer sees it, the vast amounts of money and pride involved in soccer make it all the more important that players behave ethically and Neuer should’ve done the right thing by making it clear to the referee that the ball had crossed the line. True fans of the beautiful game, even German ones, should all agree.
Quarter finals on Friday
16:00 Netherlands vs Brazil, Port Elizabeth
20:30 Uruguay vs Ghana, Johannesburg (Soccer City)
By Theresa Mallinson
Photo: Soccer fans react during a telecast of the World Cup soccer match between Spain and Portugal at the Galician brotherhood in Caracas June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins