Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: SoccerInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  Sports e-mail alerts  |  RSS

Bradley revisits controversial call in World Cup

The day after a controversial call annulled an apparent goal and left the United States in a 2-2 draw with Slovenia, American Coach Bob Bradley maintained his stance that Maurice Edu's volley should have counted and suggested that referee Koman Coulibaly might have been compensating for an earlier decision.

"I think it's a good goal," he said at USA headquarters in Irene, South Africa. "The only things that clearly could be called would be penalty kicks for us. You don't expect any answer. ... Typically out on the field, when things happen fast, it's not like referees then explain every call they make.

"In my mind, this isn't something that referees would talk about a lot, but there are times when a referee, for whatever reason, blows a foul and now thinks he either didn't make the correct call on the foul from a previous play, and then literally as soon as the free kick is taken, he blows his whistle. So you can speculate all you want about which guy [was called for a foul], I think it's a waste of time. There was nothing there. It's a good goal, and that's that."


Bradley also addressed the nature of soccer, in which not everything is meticulously explained. In the World Cup, when a less sophisticated, mainstream audience back home is watching, such situations cause confusion.

"We're all accustomed to the fact that, if it is an NFL playoff game and there is a call of some question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees," he said. "But FIFA operates differently. Soccer is a different game. ... There are some aspects of it that are not made 100 percent clear that seem to add to the discussion about the games. On our end, we get used to that.

"We all have friends and family who asked us the same questions most of you [in the media] asked us. You end up saying that that's just how it is sometimes and then you move on and you get ready for the next game."

By Steve Goff  |  June 19, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: American soccer, Bob Bradley, South Africa, World Cup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Netherlands vs. Japan: Dutch win 1-0 at World Cup
Next: Australia-Ghana: Socceroos manage 1-1 draw


Still bitter that the referee robbed us of one of the most memorable matches of all times.

Posted by: jeffmascott | June 19, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Still bitter.

Posted by: jeffmascott | June 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Not so much bitter as frustrated. Dude couldn't handle the heat and FIFA through him into Gordon Ramsey's kitchen.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Even the New York Times has made a front page story out of this ... e/scan/index.html

The NYT "we wuz robbed" story relies on the front page picture which was taken a split second AFTER the picture below (also from the times with a bit of analysis) which is worth looking at to analyze this "controversy" - 2nd photo here: nse-of-koman-coulibaly-sort-of/

The man you see in the left of the photo appears to be Slovenia forward Necj Pecnic. The man you can clearly see grabbing him around the waist is his U.S. counterpart Carlos Bocanegra. That man on the right, No. 19, running into the open space - that’s Maurice Edu.


Most of the media have got this wrong. The picture accompanying the story leaves out the MOST IMPORTANT evidence - The referee who was to the left in the picture above. At the point the picture is snapped, the referee had already blown the whistle and had started to raise his right hand to indicate a foul. The critical issue is WHAT did the referee see. Most likely he saw Bocanegra bringing down the Slovenian player who had a fair shot at the ball, and called the foul. If the Slovenian had not been pulled down, he might have headed the ball out ... and it might have never got to Edu's foot. Keeping a player from fairly defending a goal is as important as letting the offense score.

If one watches the video of this play in slow motion, it is clear that at the point at which the 2nd picture in this story is snapped (the ball was midpoint between kicker Donovan and Edu who kicked the ball into the net for a so-called \"goal\") the referee had ALREADY blown the whistle and the play was dead. Anything that happened after the picture above, does not count because it is the point at which the referee blew the whistle. Surely the US players, coaches, fans, and the media know this. There was, therefore, NO goal, however fervently we wish it to be so. The point here is not to analyze the goal, but the referees action. Most of the media and fans have accepted what the commentators on ESPN (who were clearly caught up in the excitement of a winning goal) said, blaming the referee.

But there is no way for a referee to UNBLOW his whistle, and let the goal stand. That is the principle here. I have no doubt that if the colors of the players jerseys in the picture above were reversed, the referee from Mali would have been called "one of the best in the world."

An example for US fans is the blown call in which Detorit's Galarraga was recently denied the \"perfect game\" on a bad call.

Posted by: XRayD | June 19, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Great game so far. Amazing work by Ayah to keep that ball in and get it back and get the cross in. Right call on a red card for Kewell with the handball on the goal line, but that's unfortunate for the Aussies to have their two best offnsive players sent off in their first two games

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Bradley's right about the casual US viewer and the refs. I don't think most are happy with the "it is what it is, play on" view. I've been asked a couple of times already about why the ref didn't have to explain it.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 19, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Jacob, what channel? I'm stuck with Ghana - Socceroo's...


Posted by: JkR- | June 19, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Ok, so maybe great was on overstatement, but compared to Holland-Japan, this is very good.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Well, this explains it

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, this explains it

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Australia flushes a great chance down the toilet.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@XRayD- Sure, you can't allow a goal after the whistle is blown, but the argument is that the whistle shouldn't have been blown in the first place.

It didn't look like anyone heard the whistle and stopped play, so the likely result would have been a goal.

And if you are going to blow a whistle, and least call a foul on one of the players who initiated contact, all of whom were Slovenian.

Look, I'm all in favor of getting over it, and moving on. We're still in decent position, and with a solid win over Algeria we can probably win the group. But I'm not willing to pretend that we didn't get completely screwed by the ref. Bradley's right; the only thing that makes sense is that it was a make-up call for the previous foul.

Posted by: BooThisMan | June 19, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Anelka sent home after outburst at Domenech! Stay Class Nicolas! What a prick!!
"Striker Nicolas Anelka was kicked out of France's World Cup squad on Saturday after a report that he had insulted coach Raymond Domenech, a French Federation official said".

Posted by: charlie015 | June 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

XRayD, I'm not sure anyone heard the referee's ill-advised whistle.

Posted by: paulkp | June 19, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

XRayD and folks who are trying to say it was on Bocanegra. Notice you don't see Bocanegra's head in the picture, BECAUSE HE'S IN A FRIGGIN' HEADLOCK!!!!!!! Man, you apologists are sick and blind.

Posted by: DEFPOTEC1 | June 19, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ghana, up one man, should be down 2-1.

The Aussies, already down 1 man, should be down 2 or 3. Some vicious, two footed, scissor tackles are only getting yellows.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mensah played an intelligent game.

Posted by: benonthehill | June 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Ghana is terrible.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Can the Cameroon-Denmark match be more disappointing than the first two?

Domenech might as well send the entire French team home.

"You should go and fornicate with yourself, you dirty son of a woman of ill disrepute." Translation of Anelka's alleged comments to Domenech (L'Equipe and Yahoo).

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Can they bring in Benzema now?

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@benonthehill: Ghana quote you on that?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Can they bring in Benzema now?

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2010 12:06 PM

no way dude, hes a bad influence.


Posted by: VTUnited | June 19, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Notice you don't see Bocanegra's head in the picture, BECAUSE HE'S IN A FRIGGIN' HEADLOCK!!!!!!!

Posted by: DEFPOTEC1 | June 19, 2010 11:43 AM

Absolutely correct. He was in a headlock -- clearly visible on one of the replays. What we don't see is how he got in that position. Why was his head so low? Seems likely he was already applying his bear-hug hold, when the defender locked his head. The only other possibility is that he was applying his own brakes -- sometimes you do get low, doing that -- and the defender grabbed Boca to keep from running past him.

Posted by: fischy | June 19, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What BooThisMan and DEFPOTEC1 said.

Posted by: Truckr | June 19, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the Flat Earth Society has landed here.

Posted by: paulkp | June 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow the ref in AUS-GHA was just as bad, 90% to the detriment of Ghana. Phantom foul calls every few minutes, and terrible incorrect handball call vs. Ghana by an AR who had absolutely no view of the play. Refs are calling things they do not see, which is disturbing. At least, in this case, the was very careful to identify the player he's whistling against.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | June 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The skin-tight jerseys are a mistake--apparently it's a lot easier to get away with grabbing and pulling them.

Still I thought AUS-GHA was a pretty entertaining match.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | June 19, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The whole dang US side was being mugged when that penalty was called against us, nullifying the goal. None of our boys in the box weren't being mugged, not just held. Look at the tape. The only defensible calls were either goal or penalty kick. That wasn't a bad call, it was an outrage.

Posted by: ken_ramsey | June 19, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Actually, in *every* NFL game (not just playoff games), the official announces what the penalty was and the number of the player who committed it, contemporaneously with announcing the penalty. That level of detail would be overkill in soccer, most of the time. But I don't see a good reason not to employ it for fouls in the penalty area. I mean, it's not like the 'keeper is going to take a quick free kick and announcing the foul and player would slow the flow of the game. And, if the foul goes the other way, it's not like you're going to have a quick penalty kick...

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little late for posting on this thread, but at least we now know that Bob Bradley can speak cleary, directly and understandibly on the record about soccer.

Posted by: BaltoFan | June 20, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

So the casual fan is getting an object lesson in #18 of FIFA's Laws of the Game: secrecy always trumps transparency.

Posted by: saabrian1 | June 20, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Add to all this that the free kick was awarded in the first place as a result of cheating by Altidore, who can be seen flopping in mortal agony once he realized he'd lost the ball. (I thank Coach Bradley for pointing this out, indirectly.) Of course, we know there's no place for good sportsmanship in international soccer.

As if this post wasn't annoying enough already, all of this "lawyers' soccer" -- where everything is about the rules and the ref, not the game itself -- is the result of a scoring system that's broken. If soccer games could be won more often by actually playing soccer, rather than fouling and diving and kicking dead balls into a wall of guys holding their privates ... it would be a beautiful game indeed.

Posted by: Groff | June 20, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company