John Terry made the incredible save, knocking the ball away from the goal, denying Marko Devic the goal. The replay clearly showed it was yet another ‘Ghost Goal’ with a linesman, a referee and the fifth official standing right next to the goal. They all missed it. They also missed the fact that Artem Milveskiy was offside during the buildup.
So, what now? Bash the referees? Talk about how Ukraine were served the wrong side of justice? How England got justice? Usually, officiating mistakes balance themselves out. Not in a single match, but over time. Each team and nation remember that one time (or more) when they got screwed over by the officials. Each team and nation tries to forget or ignore those mistakes when they’re the beneficiaries.
Frank Lampard wasn’t on the pitch in Donetsk to see how luck has changed for England. It was his ‘ghost goal’ against Germany, two summers ago, that caused such an uproar regarding goal line technology and using visual aids to help referees in their ever growing problems of making the right calls. But John Terry – his friend, his teammate, was there to make amend, if you want to take that kind of angle on the events.
While Blokhin was fuming his way in the post-match press conference, asking reporters to step outside and fight him, pictures of Milevskiy’s offside surfaced and told the bitter truth – Ukraine didn’t deserve that goal, and the refereeing crew did a worse job than initially thought.
England didn’t win because the referees gave them the win. They won because for one second, they had a player who was more concentrated in front of goal. They won because they gave a good, solid defending display, backed up by a fine game from Joe Hart, maybe his best in the national uniform. They won because Ukraine never win in Donetsk.
The officiating in the tournament has so far been good. But there are some questions and doubts. Only one penalty kick has been awarded, in the opening match between Poland and Greece. The moment Michel Platini spoke about how good everyone has been, things started happening. Probably one penalty (at least) not given to Croatia against Spain, and now the offside and ‘ghost goal’ in the Ukraine – England match.
There’s an order from above for officials to stay out of anything that’s not 100%. We’ve seen this as a positive so far – The games have a flow to them with hardly any intervening from the referees. Even Howard Webb is doing a decent job. But mistakes pile up, and they all point to the same direction – The FIFA and UEFA chiefs, who need to understand that it’s impossible to ignore the changing times. We need technology to assist the referees in the decision making. We’re willing to sacrifice the five more minutes of game time so we get the right calls.