Thursday, June 24, 2021

Colombian indignation

 I watched an interesting match in the Copa America between Colombia and Brazil yesterday. Colombia was in need of a result after losing to Peru and tying Venezuela, while the home-team of Brazil was just expecting to continue their unbeaten run towards the title.

The Colombians were far better organized and concentrated than in previous games and went ahead 1-0 on a spectacular half- bicycle kick by the Porto player, Luis Diaz. Brazil had most possession, and some chances (among them a shot on the post by Neymar), but the Colombians seemed in control, until 10 minutes before the end of the match.

It was a strange situation. A Brazilian pass bumped into the referee, and the ball went to another Brazilian, who played the ball wide, and the cross into the area went to Roberto Firminho, who headed weakly, but past a compliant Ospina in the Colombian goal, who should surely have blocked.

The massive protest from the Colombians were because the play should not have continued when the referee unwittingly passed blocked the ball. The referee and VAR disagreed and awarded the goal.

In my view the goal was ok; the referee is a bump on the pitch, and him unwittingly hitting the ball can go both ways. However, there is little consistency in the rule, and in particular during the Euro 2021 we have seen many referees stop play in such situations.

The protests meant 12 minutes of injury time, and in the dying seconds the Brazilians scored their long awaited winner after a corner kick that found a completely unmarked Casemiro to head Brazil into victory. The Colombians can only blame themselves for such poor defending, but it is understandable that they are angry about the first goal. That said, they showed they are still strong, and should focus on that.

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