[TELEVISION WATCH] The broadcast of the World Cup opener provided brilliant, efficient replays, making ESPN color commentator Efan Ekoku's blundering analysis of the first-half offside call even more puzzling.
In the 38th minute, Carlos Vela’s header into the South African goal was quickly and correctly ruled offside by referee Ravshan Irmatov. Vela had struck after a Mexico corner kick had been nodded on to him. We quickly got a perfect replay, shaded nicely so one could judge the players’ positioning.
Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune had left his goal in a futile attempt to intercept the corner kick. The freeze frame showed us that there was only one South African, a defender, between Vela and the goal line when the ball was headed to Vela.
Yet Ekoku continued to question the call -- what he called "an awful decision" -- even after a second clear replay. In the 45th minute, he still referred to a Mexico goal called back for "an infringement we don't know about.”
The production quality of the opening game -- from camera angles to well-timed close-ups -- promises us a month's worth of delightful viewing. One hopes the ESPN commentators will start getting the rules right.