Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup Losers Find Cause For Complaint

Yes, okay, it was very unfair that Frank Lampard's goal wasn't given. A crime, a travesty. We're all agreed that it was unjust.

That sai
d, the news that the Italians, of all teams, are now backing England's righteous crusade for goal line cameras exposes the related clamour as a sad sack of self-pitying bollocks.

Human error is a part of football. Take away the questionable offside calls and the disallowed goals, and it becomes an even more antiseptic, rubber-clad version of its former self. Bad decisions, daylight robberies and the nursing of resulting grudges is as much a part of the game as greasy pies and abusive singing.

I think that the Premiership's immense, ever-ballooning sense of entitlement is causing pundits to overlook one of the game's great selling points - it's all about deferred gratification. All those lows - the dull 0-0 draws, the harsh sendings off and yes, the disallowed goals - are what make the highs that little bit sweeter. It's the reason why a dire season can be lifted by a three-goal romp over your local rivals; why fans don't applaud many goals, so much as take berserk fits of ecstasy.

Example from my experience - that German striker's penalty-winning dive to win a game Scotland deserved to draw is just part of what made our later victories over France and Ukraine so utterly magnificent, since we all expected catastrophe to strike at any second. When the final whistle went at the Stade de France, the sense of disbelief wasn't just born of joy at the result - it was as much a great, euphoric relief and release, because of all those dark days it didn't go our way.

Plus, bad goal line decisions are exceptionally rare. The idea that they're a unique problem bedevilling the game is hilarious and self-serving. If FIFA are to look at the one thing that has comprehensively ruined games in South Africa, it's not disallowed goals - it's been the relentless diving and play acting. Error is part of the game, but cheating is always cheating.

It's the first complaint of non-football fans - all those grown men throwing themselves to the ground and rolling about in mock agony, only to spring back to life seconds later. Ridiculous red cards have had a crucial impact in a number of ties in the current tournament, yet I don't hear the FA demanding FIFA officials rewatch games and hand out retrospective yellow cards for cheating.

I wonder why that might be? Here's a possible explanation.

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