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Copa America final ref had his hands full
July 26th, 2011 12:36AM

TAGS:  copa america, referees


[REF WATCH] The latest edition of Copa America, the South American championship that is the world's oldest continental national team competition, came to conclusion last weekend when Uruguay beat Paraguay, 3-0. Randy Vogt looks at how final referee Salvio Fagundes and his crew reacted to several tough calls ...

"Refereeing the Copa America final was bound to be one of the most challenging games in Brazilian ref Salvio Fagundes’ career,” says Vogt*.

Vogt's take:

DELIBERATE HANDBALL? “In the third minute, with me watching live on Univision, it looked like Paraguay’s Nestor Ortigoza deliberately handled the ball one yard from the goal line on an Uruguayan shot by Sebastian Coates.

“The replay confirmed the ball hit his hand, which was by his face. If my comprehension of Spanish is correct, one of the Univision announcers said it was unintentional but I disagree as his hand was not in a natural position as it was by his face. If Fagundes gave the penalty kick, he also needed to send off Ortigoza as he had denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The ref was relatively well-positioned at the 18 and decided against taking action.”

YELLOW OR RED? “Fagundes could have sent off Uruguay’s Diego Perez in the 24th minute but opted to give him a caution for unsporting behavior. He had committed a studs-up tackle at midfield a second after Paraguay’s Cristian Riveros had passed the ball. For me, it was a red card.”

OUT OF CONTROL. “From that point on, the officials struggled to control the game and the players probably believed that no penalty kicks or red cards would be given. They were right. Six cautions were given, 24 fouls were whistled and seemingly every decision was greeted by outward dissent.

“In the 69th minute, Paraguay’s Pablo Zeballos was pushed inside the penalty area and in the 80th minute, the jersey of Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani was grabbed but no PKs were given.

“In the 85th minute, the ball struck Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates’ hand, which was by his face, 10 yards outside the penalty area and the foul was called, the direct kick was given and he was cautioned. The handling was very similar to what had occurred in the third minute on his shot, inside the penalty area, which was not called on Paraguay.”

GOOD CALLS. “An important decision that Fagundes clearly got correct was when Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira tripped Paraguay’s Dario Veron that the ref whistled before it became a Uruguay breakaway in the 61st minute.

“Assistant referee Marcio Santiago of Brazil got the very tight call correct as Diego Forlan was just onside before he scored the third Uruguay goal in the 89th minute.

* (Randy Vogt has officiated more than 8,000 games during the past three decades, from professional matches to U-6 gamesHe is the author of “Preventive Officiating.”)

  1. John Munnell
    commented on: July 26, 2011 at 10:44 a.m.
    Agree or disagree, I've really been enjoying this feature over the past few weeks. Thanks!
  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: July 26, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.
    I agree the third minute incident was a penalty for hand ball but a sending off would have been harsh. Putting the hands up in front of the face is an instinctive protective move so therefore I would not have shown the defender red. I agree with the caution given in the 24th minute, again a sending off would have been a rather harsh decision. It was comparable to the caution given to a Paraguyan defender for a two footed scissors tackle a few minutes later. Could have been red but he chose yellow. I don't to see refs become Hallmark salesmen, a card for every occasion.

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