By Mark Vincent Lincir
I hated watching what happened to Ghana on Friday in their quarterfinal match against Uruguay, because once again…if proved that cheaters do prosper. I am really surprised that all the analysts on television aren’t up in arms over Luis Suarez’ handball that denied Ghana a clear goal and put Uruguay into the Semifinals and left Ghana out in the cold. But one after another one they told the television viewing audience that it’s part of the game and that any player would do that put in the situation that Suarez was.
I’ve never played in the World Cup, but played this game for 35 years, many as a defender, and I’ve never done it.
It’s cheating, pure and simple and now all Suarez is sitting out is one game like you would for a second yellow. So let me ask you something…does that discourage or encourage players to do what Suarez did?
It encourages it.
Why not? Years ago it happened all the time because the foul only warranted a yellow card, so I will say that we’ve made a bit of progress making it a straight red…but is that for the intentional handball? Or is it for stealing a clear goal from the opposition by cheating?
Now, I am not supporting the rule to be changed to where if a defender takes down an attacker on a clear goal scoring opportunity he’s given an automatic goal…but as much as I hate to compare soccer to other sports I will in this case…this should be the new rule.
If a ball is clearly headed over the goal line and its progress is stopped by a handball by the opposition…a goal will be awarded (yes, it is like goaltending in basketball and no, it does not have to be intentional, that would just be another thing the refs could mess up).
There you go, case closed. Ghana wins, like they should have…and cheaters don’t prosper and we don’t have to watch replays of Suarez celebrating on his way to the tunnel (disgusting). It’s an easy rule to change and don’t tell me soccer doesn’t work that way.
How does it work? Is it a sport where cheaters prosper and where the integrity of the game comes second to winning? Seems like it.
Now, I’m not saying we rely on the players to suddenly become model citizens and start calling fouls on themselves…but the rules can be changed to protect the sanctity of the game and reward teams that earn victories. Ghana earned the victory the other day against Uruguay during the run of play, the ball was crossing the line and was clearly headed into the goal. The game would have been over had it not been for Suarez’ handball, instead Ghana was forced to take a penalty kick which we all know they missed.
Now Suarez is only facing a one-match ban from FIFA…what a joke that is. Do you think that FIFA likes the drama and controversy by any chance? I don’t want the human element taken out of the game by robot refs or cameras and I don’t want the game to change to a point we don’t even recognize it anymore…but I do want FIFA to take a look at it and ask themselves…are we headed in the right direction here or not? Given all the controversy during this World Cup over calls and the blemish to the game that will always be Suarez’ handball, I would say that we are not.
Holding during corner kicks is cheating, diving is cheating, running twenty yards up on a throw-in is cheating, cheating the opposition out of a goal by using your hands is cheating. Cheating is not good for any sport, let alone ours. It’s time to stop acting like
Photo from fOTOGLIF
that is just the way it is and make some changes to save the integrity of the global game. Don’t reward cheats…punish them severely and it will stop. Slap them on the hand though and you can expect the cheating to grow more rampant that it already is.
IN OTHER GAMES – The Netherlands did a nice job against Brazil in their 2-1 victory, but benefited greatly from Brazil’s own goal which definitely shifted the momentum. Germany made Argentina look like a reserve team in their 4-0 thrashing of Maradona’s men. Spain got lucky, very lucky against Paraguay and will definitely need to play stronger against Germany in the semifinal and you’ve already read my comments on Uruguay. The sad part is, I want to be excited about Uruguay being in the semifinals, they’re an old school two-time champion of the World Cup and I really enjoy watching Forlan…but I just can’t get the handball out of my head and hate watching it on replays.
Teams and players need to be FORCED to earn it on the field in the right way. Until that happens, I will have a sour taste in my mouth, because the game is too beautiful to be spoiled by ugly actions.
STAY TUNED for my semifinals preview on Monday and make sure to rally your buddies to watch both games this week, they are sure to be classics. And remember, only the goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands.
Mark Vincent Lincir is the Editor-In-Chief of www.90soccer.com You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter now too!