For football fans, this is one busy month of June, with Euro 2016 and Copa America Centenario occurring simultaneously, leaving some of them with very few sleeping hours. On the agenda today: What the hell was Joachim Löw, the Germany head coach, doing? And how did Andres Cunha miss Raul Ruidiaz scoring for Peru with his hand, costing Brazil their place in the quarter final of the Copa America?
We’ll begin with the more serious offense: Cheating and a referee and his crew completely oblivious to it. After Ecuador beat Haiti 4-0 in the previous match, Peru knew it had to win against Brazil in order to qualify. The Brazilians? They were fine with just a draw, and played like it. Regardless of what kind of emotions Dunga evokes in people, and how bad Brazil are compared to their expectations, teams don’t deserve to be knocked out like this.
Ruidiaz connected with a cross from the talented Andy Polo, left completely unmarked in the middle of the Brazilian penalty box. However, the ball was going to pass him from behind, so he used his right arm to score. It was clear without the replay, only Cunha, not the most experienced of referees in these kind of situations, fell for it. It took him too long to make up his mind, pretty much knowing he f***ed up by allowing the goal in the first place. It seemed like the consultations after the goal with Brazilian and Peruvian players howling in his ears was just some idiotic formality. He isn’t allowed to look at replays for some idiotic reason, and hence made a huge decision, and the wrong one.
Brazil are to blame for playing poorly except for their match against Haiti, not scoring outside that encounter. But justice and fairness are a part of football. They’re higher and more important than some status FIFA wants to give officials during matches. There’s nothing wrong if an official makes a decision but has a replay to back him up in certain situations. Certainly in goals like this. It would have taken him less time to look at a replay than all of his walkie-talkie talk with the other officials, and he probably (NFL and NBA refs miss calls even with replays) would have gotten it right too, the most important thing.
And earlier, across the pond, in Northeast France, a world champion in Joachim Löw forgot he’s being watched by hundreds of millions, with a camera that’s always on him, not to forget the thousands in the stands who don’t stop filming with their cellphones and tablets. Löw sticks his hands down his pants and then sniffs it. Germany won, Bastian Schweinsteiger put an awful season behind him. Who cares? Germany’s coach has a lot of explaining to do.