Brazil's PK: Why the retake?

[REF WATCH] That Brazil got a second chance from the penalty spot forced the Americans to pull off a heroic comeback to reach the semifinals. Was the retake, after Hope Solo saved the first attempt, warranted?

First, we look at the foul. After Marta tapped the ball past Rachel Buehler, the American defender and Marta went down. Australian ref Jacqui Melksham pointed to the penalty spot and showed Buehler the red card.

Randy Vogt says he watched several replays of the incident and he couldn’t see the foul: “But Melksham had a great view of it as she was just five yards away from the ball.

“And if it’s a foul, it’s also a red card to Buehler as it’s denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.”

As for giving the Brazilians another crack at the penalty kick after Solo stopped Cristiane’s effort, Vogt says: “Although the ref was right to the letter of the law that Christie Rampone entered the penalty area just before Cristiane kicked the ball during the penalty kick, this is an issue that I addressed in "Preventive Officiating":

“Let’s use common sense in infractions during the taking of penalty kicks. Should you believe that a goalkeeper might have moved a silly millimeter off the goal line or players brushed the 18-yard line before the kick was taken, keep the whistle out of your mouth.”

Vogt adds: “Traditionally, the referee’s position was to the side of the penalty spot and many refs now take up a position in the corner of the penalty area, as Melksham did, which is a better position to spot players coming into the penalty area too soon.

”She needed to use some common sense instead of ordering the penalty kick to be retaken as Rampone took a step or so over 18 before the kick was taken and had no effect on the play.”

Marta made no mistake when she took over PK duties on the retake, but the USA forced the game into a penalty kick shooutout thanks to Abby Wambach’s last-minute goal.

During the shootout, Shannon Boxx’s attempt was saved by Brazilian keeper Andreia, but she was ruled to have stepped forward before the kick and Melksham granted Boxx a retake that she converted.

50 comments about "Brazil's PK: Why the retake?".
  1. Marc Silverstein, July 11, 2011 at 8:04 a.m.

    the foul by Buehler was I think a couple of gentle tugs at the hip before Marta when down in a heap as she attempted to play the ball.

  2. Ernest Irelan, July 11, 2011 at 8:23 a.m.

    I believe Marc to be correct, as to the encroachment call for the player coming into the PK box, that is law...not an "in the opinion of the referee" thus, a correct call non the less. I hated it, but, to be fair to the referee, it was the correct call...better than my son who got a non call yesterday in a Final Ch match for midwest ch. game of US YOUTH SOCCER...for being taken out by goalie...I am all for following the laws of the game, but, when it comes to laws that fans to allow referees to use common sense...that is opening a whole new can of worms as we all see things differently when it comes to "opinions of referees"...thus, we must depend on experience an good judgment of them. I agree that Hope made the save properly an the field player's encroachment had no effect on this. However, that can lead to stepping over the line on throwins, wall players moving forward before the ball is struck on free kicks, etc...fouls , an on calls on them are bad enough in some instances...I just admire HOPE SOLO so much for not lettng this incident get the best of her an to see her play such an outstanding game all thru it...I really respect this young lady athlete. I think she has a really great future an really is an inspiration for young women athlets in soccer.

  3. Ian Plenderleith, July 11, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.

    Randy's spot on with his take on the re-take. The ball went nowhere near Rampone after Solo's save, and no one could or would have criticized the ref for playing on. Couldn't see the foul on the Buehler/Marta play either - both players had their arms out, and Buehler won what looked like a 50-50 challenge.

  4. Paul Justison, July 11, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

    I thought the replays clearly showed a foul by Buehler. Her right arm was extended in front of and against Marta's belly attempting to hold her back. That is a foul.

    Randy Vogt does not seem to be following his own book, as his book says that referees should ignore "a goalkeeper might have moved a silly millimeter off the goal line or players brushed the 18-yard line". As referees are taught, ignore trifling fouls. But Rampone did not brush the line, she was in to the penalty area by a full 2 to 3 yards.

    I look forward to the day that USA soccer drops the victim mentality and plays the game.

  5. Thomas Fouce, July 11, 2011 at 9:36 a.m.

    As to the "foul" in the box: both Buehler and Marta were tugging each other's shirts. You can see this plainly in replays that were shown from both the front and the back. It was a clear 50/50 call, or more properly a non-call. Marta's dive and histrionics helped to sell it.

    @Ernest Irelan - you say that a judgement call of the referee on encroachment would lead to opening a can of worms in regard to other offenses and then proceed to cite a list of potential offenses that might result. "stepping over the line on throwins, wall players moving forward before the ball is struck on free kicks, etc..." These "offenses" occur on a regular basis! I would say that they occur on greater than 50% of plays. The US got reamed on the Buehler red card and the re-take, no question. The one we got away with was the non-call on the handball commited by Carli Lloyd.

  6. Bret Newman, July 11, 2011 at 9:38 a.m.

    Someone tell the ref that a foul in the box doesn't automatically warrant a red card. I'm not sure if Buehler even deserved a yellow.

  7. Mark Grody, July 11, 2011 at 10:03 a.m.

    50/50 ball, no foul, no dive either

    refs can usually justify their most intrusive calls or a large number of calls with the letter of the law.

    but, soccer refs are given the most latitude of sport officials precisely to allow for the spirit of the game to trump the LOTG.

  8. Marc Silverstein, July 11, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.

    Bret if you give the pk, it must be red as she was the last defender and denied a goal scoring opportunity.

  9. Kenneth Barr, July 11, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.

    I felt the penalty call, and the ensuing sending off, was correct but the encroachment call, which appeared to be made by the assistant, was an over-reaction. If the law is applied by the letter, there would be encroachment on every PK taken. There has to be involvement by the encroacher for the retake call to be given and Rampone wasn't even close. Therefore, it was "passive" and should not have been given. I would also like to know what Hope Solo did to get the caution. If it was for dissent, there really wasn't much in it. In summing up the refs performance, I give her a "6," slightly above average but a bit too easy with the cards. Hallmark doesn't need any more people on its sales staff.

  10. Wolfgang Wostl, July 11, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.

    As a past ref for many years, I am sure that this ref did not have the nessesary experience to handle this

    game. I could list several calls or non-calls that were completely wrong. I would like to see the rule that applies to the yellow card she gave to the Brazilien player after she re-entered the field. I realize that the player faked an injury, but I don't know of any rule for the yellow card.
    The penalty call was very questionable,
    since both players were fighting for the ball and neither committed an obvious foul.Marta is an exceptional player, but also a good actress. I agree with the above commemts that the pennalty re-take was not warranted.

  11. Eddie Rockwell, July 11, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.

    @ Paul J. The penalty call was questionable. The allowance of a retake was absurd. And, most importantly, as to your comment that you, "look forward to the day that USA soccer drops the victim mentality and plays the game," try watching the entire game. USA Soccer, as represented by our women national team players, did just that. And not only did we play the game -- we advanced!

  12. Nat S. Harty, July 11, 2011 at 12:21 p.m.

    Ok, let's sum it up-Marta foul was judgement call-she makes the call, the card has to be given and the LOTG informs that it must be red---if she decides no foul, then the game plays on-decisions and no calls like that happen in every game in every country al the time.

    However, the encroachment cal on Rampone was a factual violation of the LOTG BUT should never have been called. I challenge every player,coach, fan and official who ever watched or participated in a game to honestly believe that wall creeps, foul throws, PK encroachment at the goal and the 18 yd box, don't happen All THE TIME!

    US showed great spirit to win a game which was
    almost taken from them by bad judgement from the officials.

  13. Joy Hottington, July 11, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.

    In response to Paul Justison. If Rampone was in the box by 2 or 3 yards then she is either the fastest human alive or has strides far longer than her own body. If she encroached at all it was a lean in and half a step into the box. That is absolutely never called that close and shouldn't be called that close whether you are the US or anyone else. It was a bogus call and red in the first place and a bogus retake. Its not only American who knew that, but also all the German non-partisans at the game who were clearly cheering for the US and booing Marta and Brazil (both deservedly) by the end.

  14. Tyler Dennis, July 11, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.

    Petty theft happens all of the time, so why arrest those guys... it's the law. Instead of getting mad at the ref, but the blame on Rampone for entering early... she knows the Laws.. she was the only one to enter. Kudos to the ref for calling the game so there isn't judgement BS. As for Buehler, ref made a call... it's the game. Give our girls credit for it not bothering them and they soldiered on.

  15. Brad Phillips, July 11, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.

    I guess we will just ignore the blown offside call that led to Brazil's second goal. Hopefully the entire referee team got sent packing.

  16. John Mandelker, July 11, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.

    The Foul? Marta and Bueller both had a hold of each other's jersey. Marta leverage that jersey hold and lept feet first towards the goalie in an attempt to stretch out and reach the goal, pulling Bueller down in the process.

    Fouls are to be called to maintain fairness and safety. There was no advantage gained by either player as the ball was out of reach for both. The only potential for a foul would have been on Marta for dangerous play, except thtat she was far enough removed from Solo.

    The Retake. Rampone's foot did break the plan, but hadn't touched down in the box when the shot was taken. Several players, from both teams, had body parts breaking the plan.

    Both referees are entitled to bad days as well. In this case USA had one of their best days to counter.

  17. P Van, July 11, 2011 at 2:06 p.m.

    I agree with Tyler D. completely; at any level YOU are the only one at fault if you enter the box prior to the kick on a pk. It's called concentration and discipline. Yes, players encroach, step over the line, etc...consistently. FIFA always says they want the refs to enforce the rules (tackling from behind, holding on corner kicks, etc...); most refs don't deliver. I give credit to this ref for all of her calls, and for consulting with her lineswomen (seems like she did)! Her calls were gutsy, and as shown in the pk shootout, fair and balanced (sorry to use the FOX news term! Yikes!). She did not have the benefit of replays...on the flip side of this--had the US lost, she would have been the talk of the game instead of the game itself--so it goes...glad the US women came through; clearly their mental discipline and toughness triumphed--Brazil seemed out of sorts from the own goal onwards. Soccer America's writers seem to begrudge them this. Yes, their technical skills are lacking; creativity in final third woefully bad--such is the state of US soccer across the board; it will take another 30 years to improve. Let's put the pieces in place to get there (better coaching, scouting of talent, support for the game at all levels)

  18. E Roy, July 11, 2011 at 2:10 p.m.

    Even if Rampone did enter early, why did the ref give Solo a yellow card immediately after talking to her assistant? If she claims its because Solo was vocal, I would expect any keeper to do the same in such a situation.

  19. Paul Justison, July 11, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.

    Eddie Rockwekk,

    Obviously the women won and more power to them for staying in the game. Their winning though has not stopped the endless complaining about the referee and therefore my point about the victim mentality, which seems to affect the women's team at times - though thankfully not here, the men's teams quite frequently, as well as the paid and 'volunteer' commentators and the press.

    If you make an infraction, no matter how small, you are liable for being sanctioned. This goes for playing soccer, as well as for life in general.

  20. Kirsten Allen, July 11, 2011 at 3:27 p.m.

    First of all, I certainly believe Marta was fouled. In the replay, watch the right leg of the defender kick the left leg of Marta who was using that preferred leg to attempt to kick the ball. The defender's leg kicks Marta's leg up, she misses the ball and loses the goal scoring opportunity. Foul; PK; ejection.
    I thought the Americans showed great resilience in the face of a superior team. The Americans connected on a very low number of passes, gave the ball away easily and needlessly and defended poorly. They will need a lot more work in order to win the championship. All that said, I was thrilled with the header, even though it was the only positive impact Wambach had on the game all day. The Brazilians were faster, quicker and more deft than the Americans. We got real lucky but that's the way the game ends up sometimes.

  21. Charles Stamos, July 11, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.

    The ref made some very good calls and missed some. She may be too inconsistent to be reffing any more at this level. She did even out the PK retake issue, but it would have been really interesting if Andreia had saved another PK as she was way off her line on all the US PKs. The Buehler red card was the right call once she gave the foul, the PK retake for encroachment against the US was too harsh, the Solo yellow was probably as appropriate as Marta's yellow, the AL missed a tight offside's call on the 2nd Marta goal, Lloyd deserved a red card for her 2nd yellow card offense, and finally there was a lot of diving on both sides, it's become a horrible tactic that now is making each tackle/injury almost cardable on one side or the other. The game is becoming harder to call and I'm glad I'm a retired ref.

  22. Pete Morris, July 11, 2011 at 3:58 p.m.

    I'm with Bret Newman above: a foul in the box does NOT necessarily equal a red card. This is a myth, perpetuated by far too many fans, commentators, and seemingly even officials, which is doing real damage to the game. FIFA Law 12, including the interpretation and guidelines, does indeed direct the referee to show a red card for fouls that deny an "obvious goalscoring opportunity". But exactly what that means is left extremely vague; there is no "last defender" rule. My own interpretation, based on common sense and a careful reading of the guidelines surrounding yellow cards and the catch-all category of "unsporting behavior", is that a card (red or yellow) should only be shown in cases where the foul was either cynically intentional (i.e., the "professional foul" with no effort being made to legitimately win the ball) or dangerously reckless. While it's reasonable to argue that Buehler did indeed foul Martha, thus warranting a PK, in no way was her challenge reckless, dangerous, or cynically professional in a way that violates the spirit of the game. At worst, Buehler is guilty of a somewhat desperate, clumsy, "careless" challenge—a foul, perhaps, but not a card.

    I love the fact that soccer's laws are so vague and open to interpretation; this gives a fair-minded referee the flexibility to apply the laws in a way consistent with the spirit of the game. True, this system breaks down (as yesterday) when the referee is incompetent, but it's still a far cry better than the opposing model: the National Football League, which attempts to legislate every possible scenario that might arise. This latter philosophy of eliminating officials' ability to interpret and flexibly apply the rules, rather than taking them out of the game, actually makes the referees a far more intrusive part of the game as they try to enforce an over-thick rule book with encyclopedic comprehensiveness (e.g., the infamous "tuck rule" and nonsense about receivers needing to make a "football move" to confirm possession of the ball). Officials who think and make common-sense judgments, while imperfect, are far better than officials who robotically attempt to apply overspecific rules.

  23. Paul Justison, July 11, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.

    Pete Morris

    You can find the following:

    "Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding
    whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity:
    • the distance between the offence and the goal
    • the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
    • the direction of the play
    • the location and number of defenders
    • the offence which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring
    opportunity may be an offence that incurs a direct free kick or an
    indirect free kick"

    on page 121 of the latest laws of the game.

  24. Amos Annan, July 11, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.

    If the call for re-take on the penalty kick was Rampone's minor encroachment into the penalty area before the kick was taken, it should have been ignored as in "advantage" or "off-sides" when it has no effect on the play.

  25. Amos Annan, July 11, 2011 at 4:37 p.m.

    This game is another example of why soccer needs to re-vamp its rules to allow for video review. Too often the results of games are determined by idiotic referee calls. A team sport should not be decided by an individual's mistake.

  26. Amos Annan, July 11, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.

    It is crazy that most referees believe that a red card must be shown in the penalty. It is NOT required.

  27. jay too, July 11, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.

    Why not use the best available ref. regaardless of gender? The we only use female ref's B.S. is hurting the game!
    And use limited technology to help is also wise.

  28. Power Dive, July 11, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.

    @Kirsten - the U.S. did not get lucky. They earned that win with hard work and perseverance. For every call that went the way of the U.S., there was a call that went for Brazil. For every post Brazil hit, the U.S. hit a post too. For every "lucky" goal the U.S. had, Brazil had two.

    It's an insult to every player on the U.S. team to say that they got lucky. They earned that victory 100%. Scoring the goal with 1 minute left is not luck. The girls worked there a** off for 120+ minutes to put themselves in a position to succeed.

  29. Eddie Rockwell, July 11, 2011 at 5:42 p.m.

    @ Power Dive: Good Job -- you are correct!

  30. Kent James, July 11, 2011 at 6:58 p.m.

    Wolfgang, "unsporting conduct" covers a broad range of sins, and faking an injury at the end of an important game that your team is winning certainly qualifies as unsporting conduct. The ref's yellow card was spot on. Some people felt that Carly Lloyd's handling of the ball warranted a second yellow, so the US "got away with one" when it was not given, but I disagree. While she clearly handled the ball deliberately, I think it was a reaction, not a purposeful (thought out) act, so I think a yellow card there would be harsh (this was not a tactical foul or a "hand of God" incident, which would require cards). And a second yellow card better be one you have to give, not one that's a maybe (since doing so will change the complexion of the game, and usually not for the better). I think the ref's call for the infringement was complicated by it being an AR that was making the call, so the ref may not have even seen it. It's also hard to know what FIFA's directions to the crew were ("do not tolerate any encroachment" e.g.), or what the ref told the AR, so it's hard to apportion blame for that one. But the spirit of the law would suggest that the pk should not have been retaken. Credit the referee for making the call against the Brazilian keeper who clearly did come forward (and greatly benefited from that movement) before the ball was struck on the first kick in the shoot out; that's not an easy call to make (just ask the referee who did not overrule Brianna Scurry's save against China in the WC final in the US!). So the refs got a lot right, but some crucial calls wrong. Sometimes it's hard to be a referee...

  31. Charles Stamos, July 11, 2011 at 7:24 p.m.

    Anyone else wonder who is on the headsets besides the ref and 2 AL? Is the 4th official? Is there someone from FIFA who listens/chimes in at times? I think there is a dirty little secret here, that there may be a lot of discussion happening when crucial calls are made and especially in regards to no card or yellow or red cards!
    And it may not be restricted to the 3 or 4 primary officials on the field.

  32. Wolfgang Wostl, July 11, 2011 at 8:06 p.m.

    Kent, I agree with you that sometimes it is hard to be a referee.I can say that from my own experience.
    But I don't agree with you on the yellow card given to the Brazilien player after she returned to the pitch.I agree that it was " unspotting conduct". It was obvious to anyone who knows the game that the player went down soly to gain some advantage for her team. Although that eventually worked against her. The yellow card should have been given to her before she left the pitch. Since the introduction of the yellow and red cards I have never seen a yellow card been shown when a player re-entering the field exept when the player enters without permission of the referee.
    In general, I feel very strong that the referee was not qualified to handle such a game. It was obvious that she was not in controll of the game.

  33. George Beveridge, July 11, 2011 at 9:16 p.m.

    @Wolfgang, The yellow could have been given for re-entering the field without the ref's permission or for a "dive". Either would be a yellow card.
    @Bret, If the ref is going to call it a foul, then Marc is exactly right it MUST be red as she was the last defender (before the keeper) and denied an (obvious) goal scoring opportunity.

  34. Larry Beguin, July 11, 2011 at 10:14 p.m.

    Very constructive comments. Thanks all for your insights which, in most part, served to enlighten those of us new to the game on the nuances surrounding some of the calls.

  35. Paul Justison, July 11, 2011 at 11:08 p.m.

    I took the time to look at the play that led to the Buehler send-off in slow motion. As an earlier commentator noted, the most serious foul is Buehler kicking Marta's left leg with her right leg just as she is about to play the ball. Solo is in front of them and not making a play on the ball, the ball is clearly in Marta's playing distance, not in Solo's. After the foul is called, Solo - who is clearly capable of being quite demonstrative and who had the best view - does not complain, nor do any other of Buehler's teammates.

    Case closed! Foul and DOGSO!

  36. Frank Cebul, July 11, 2011 at 11:28 p.m.

    Amazing that so many knowledgeable soccer people can have so many differing views about the officiating, even with the benefit of replay and slow motion. I am also a former referee and I believe this center referee did a very good job in this long (122 min + PKs) important game between 2 key rivals.I think that she got all of the calls under present discussion right, including the no-card on Lloyd's deliberate hand ball. The red card on Beuhler was a no-brainer, and I always called encroachment and keeper early off of the line on PKs because I felt it was an intentional cynical effort to gain unfair advantage on the opponent and reflected poor discipline on the part of the athlete.She maintained good control of the game as evidenced by the lack of harsh fouls, "pay back" fouls, or other evidence of escalating temper against the opponent.She was consistently close enough to the play and usually had good positioning. I agree with Wolfgang that technically she missed the opportunity to give the yellow card to Erica for her time-wasting unsporting feigned injury prior to restarting play after she left the field, but she gave the yellow when it first became obvious that the player had tried to intentionally dupe her. I think the players probably felt that justice was done even though the Laws of the Game do not allow for that procedure; who knows, that action may have prevented an angry "pay back" foul. The AR did miss the offside on Marta's goal which really did show up a glaring lapse in concentration.

  37. Jim Horgan, July 11, 2011 at 11:44 p.m.

    Frank, I agree with everything you said but I think the retake was over the top. No impact on the play, so I don't think it should have been called. Funny, the way things turned out it may have assured the retake for Boxx after her first PK was unfairly stsopped. I wish the networks would require commentators to take some basic referee instructions. Their lack of knowledge is glaring. They were so confused when Rapino went in with studs up on a Brazilian player right after a foul had been whistled for the US's favor. So confusing, Rapino got a yellow card and the US had the restart free kick! Overall, the ARs had a rougher game than the center ref.

  38. Kent James, July 12, 2011 at 12:17 a.m.

    Jim and Frank, I agree with most of what you guys said. With regards to the yellow card for the feigning injury/time wasting, she gave the benefit of the doubt to the player that she was genuinely hurt (as she should), so she didn't give her a card while she was on the field. It was only after she was off the field and got up and ran to get back in the game that it was clear she had been faking. Technically, the laws of the game require that she be issued the card before the restart, but since the ref didn't know she was faking until after the restart, I think giving her the yellow card when she came on the field was great. Jim's observation about Rapino's card was also right. Rapino was fouled (which the ref called) and was taking her frustration out on the next player. On replay it was clear that Rapino actually got just the ball with her studs up tackle (so it wasn't as bad as I first thought), but it was so reckless it deserved a card (and in the context of the game, a card was absolutely necessary to keep the match from getting out of control). This was a tough game to referee (especially given some of the Brazilian flopping; I see they've emulated that unfortunate aspect of the game from the men; diving is not a skill to be emulated!). I have not seen Marta much, but I read a lot about her skill, and was duly impressed with that aspect of her game, but her diving, and even worse, her histrionics demonstrating her lack of respect for the referee when the ref did not call the "fouls" that Marta was trying to create, made me lose respect for her. I thought the ref did a credible job on a very difficult game (and Kirsten Allen's comment about Marta's leg being kicked by Beuhler as Marta stretched for the ball would encourage me to believe that the ref got that call right, though I didn't think it was a good call when I watched the game). The refs were certainly not "incompetent" or "way over their heads".

  39. Frank Cebul, July 12, 2011 at 12:17 a.m.

    Jim, While I was watching the game I thought the referee called a foul that Brazil committed(at the time I saw a foul that I would have also called though I do not recall now what it was);shortly after the foul, but before the play was whistled, Rapino fouled the Brazilian with a studs up over-the-ball foul. So the free kick went to US for the first foul, and Rapino got the yellow card for unsporting play. In a soccer referee's mind the ball is "dead" at the time of the foul, not at the time of the whistle, unless he decides to play on to see if there is advantage to the fouled team to do so.So Rapino's action did not warrant a free kick though it did warrant a yellow card.

  40. Frank Cebul, July 12, 2011 at 12:22 a.m.

    Jim, as far as the encroachment call, a ref has to be careful about making too many judgment calls or else he risks losing control of the game or he gets too wrapped up in trying to decide "impact" and loses concentration on the fast-moving action. It is far better, and I think fairer, to expect players to not encroach or jump early off of their line. After all, they know what they are doing and they know they can derive advantage against their opponent by doing it...and unfortunately they know that many referees will not call them on it. I just always did and never spent any extra mental energy worrying about it.

  41. Kent James, July 12, 2011 at 12:34 a.m.

    Jim, you were also right about the retake (shouldn't have happened) and the commentators. I usually like Julie Foudy, but her US bias was a bit too much (and she also had trouble with either her math or the length of the overtime period, though I'm guessing Ian subtly made her aware of the issue prior to her 2nd gaffe, after which he had to correct her on air). I generally like Ian's commentaries when he does the men's team or the EPL, but he was especially clueless on this one (though to his credit, he was willing to admit his cluelessness). They did get a correct interpretation of what happened on the PK re-take from Paul Tamberino (and his explanation made what appeared to be baffling referee decisions understandable, so that was great), but then they seemed to let it go instead of emphasizing it. Perhaps they should pay Tamberino to watch the game live and call in whenever they go down the wrong path in trying to interpret referee decisions. Too often commentators are unaware of what the refs are doing (or why), and they end up reinforcing misunderstandings about the rules of the game instead of correcting them.

  42. Kent James, July 12, 2011 at 12:42 a.m.

    Frank, while I see where you're coming from on the encroachment call, I disagree that it should have been called. I actually think they are so lenient about this rule that it is ridiculous (I've seen kicks taken where players are almost even with the kicker, or when both teams are in the box, and the results are still allowed to stand), so I'm generally in agreement that it should be tightened up, but the punishment is out of proportion to the crime. Changing the score by a goal is a huge punishment for an infringement that has no impact on the game (and is neither cynical or dangerous).

  43. Wolfgang Wostl, July 12, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.

    Kent, Your statement that the punishment is out of proportion to the crime is excellent!

  44. Ernest Irelan, July 12, 2011 at 9:58 a.m.

    great comments dead on with is NEVER easy to be a referee, at least, it never was for me an all I did was an referees, we have no control AR can an should make calls in their portion of the field they are responsible for...if the CR did not see it or has a question about it, no problem with conferring with AR...some mentioned about the tugging of uniform, etc..which is supposed to be a card able offense, but, when both are doing it?? for sure, tackles from behind are supposed to be cardable msny instances, there is no warning to the opponet to prepare for it an thus, to help avoid injury. I am impressed with the comments from Philip Van Eyck an think there is merit to his total thinking on how to prepare better soccer in the to identify those players with outstanding qualities.

  45. jack lighthiser, July 12, 2011 at 10:35 a.m.

    I have to agree with Kristen. Both Wambach and Boxx look very slow (Wambach's achilles and Boxx's age) and it showed in group play. Wambach with 11 shots and only one on frame. Rodriguez would never play again, if she did that. Cheney is a central player, not a wing (constantly drifting inside and exposing the strong side defense). Time to change the old guard and move on, (just like the men).

  46. Robert Waffle, July 12, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.

    Lots of great comments and, as someone already noted, it's interesting that so many knowledgeable people can see things so differently, even with the benefit of replay and slow-motion. I think this just shows how difficult it is to officiate a match like this and how important it is to emphasize training and experience for referees. As a referee, I sometimes feel like I have a special pass to be overly critical, but I also try to balance that by recognizing good work in difficult situations. I think this crew did a fairly good job, though several of the miscues (and EVERY crew makes a few every match) came at unfortunate junctures. I am curious about the re-take call though, especially as to who made it. Watch the AR, whose responsibility it is to watch the keeper and her side of the box, and you'll see she races back to her sideline position after the save, indicating that she did not observe any infractions. Credit bad camera work for not catching what was probably Hope Solo running to confront that same AR for making a bad call (which she didn't) and, more than kikely, receiving the yellow for dissent. Speculation, but the only thing that makes any sense at this point. As for the actual "encroachment", even with stop-action, I can see only a minor "breaking of the plane". She hadn't even set her front foot down at the time the ball was struck. Was she involved in the play? NO Did she gain an unfair advantage? No Did she interfere with the play? NO In my opinion, bad call. What the CR could/ should have done would be to stop play and confer with the AR on that side to see if the level of infraction warranted changing the result of a WORLD CUP match. My assessors always remind me that the AR's are there for a reason, use them! In the end, one of the most exciting matches I've watched in a long time.

  47. Frank Cebul, July 12, 2011 at 8:25 p.m.

    Robert, I have to respectfully disagree in this case. Since Solo deflected the ball into the field of play on Rampone's side of the field where she then proceeded to chase after the ball and pressure the Brazilian who collected it,I think it is reasonable to say that she did interfere with the play and did derive unfair advantage. If the PK goes over the crossbar or is deflected into the opposite side of the field, then no foul. In real time I suspect that the central referee saw movement out of the corner of her eye, saw that Rampone was in the penalty area before she heard the kick, and made the call she felt she had to make. I agree with her. When I worked as AR I was totally focused on the keeper with the kicker in the corner of my field of vision--I never focused on the other players outside of the penalty area which were the responsibility of the central referee. I think the central ref saw a hive of upset players accosting her AR and she pulled out a yellow card to defuse the situation and protect her AR. Again, I can not fault her.

  48. Jim Horgan, July 12, 2011 at 10:14 p.m.

    Frank, I watched the U tube video many times today. I wanted to make sure the US player who encroached did not then collect the ball. A brazillian player collected the ball and while the encroaching player was there to defend, a different US player actually was the first defender and the one who blocked the attempted play to put the ball back in the area. An unnecessary call by the ref IMO. Also strange in that the ref showed Solo the yellow card (presumably for dissent) when they really were far apart. I can only assume that Solo had made some visible dissent that I could not see in the video.

    Also, no players were on the AR. She kept her flag down the entire time and backed up properly to her T/L position and made the throw in call for Brazil when the 1st defender blocked the ball over the T/L.

  49. Frank Cebul, July 12, 2011 at 10:58 p.m.

    Jim, you spent a lot of effort on this play--thanks for your insight.

  50. Frank Cebul, July 12, 2011 at 11:04 p.m.

    But if I am Hope Solo, I get into Rampone's face and firmly tell her not to encroach again--it is a silly risk to take with no possible advantage for her team, since if an advantage does occur in the mind of the referee, then the PK is retaken. Rampone's encroachment negated a tremendously athletic,momentum-changing save.

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