World Cup Redux Group D: Seeing Red Pays The Price

20 June 2010

Australia's Harry Kewell (C) is booked with the red card by Italian referee Roberto Rosetti as his teammate Lucas Neill argues during the 2010 FIFA World Cup group D match between Ghana and Australia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, 19 June 2010. (Credit Image: © epa/ZUMApress.com)
Klose’s Sending Off Was The Correct Decision
Klose’s first yellow card was well deserved. His eleventh minute tripping of Branislav Ivanovic was stupid. Not only did he run through the man, to add insult to injury, he clipped the ankles as well. Challenges like those don’t get many warnings, if any at all. I felt the referee was completely justified in flashing the card to warn him of his future conduct.
Having seen the second yellow card up close, I think it was more a yellow card than the first. From behind, Klose felt the need to try and use his foot as a pitching wedge to take the ball. Dejan Stankovic played the perfect touch and ended up taking the full blunt of the challenge on his ankle. Again, the tackle was from behind; and while some will say that he should have been given a final warning, he was not. I’ll continue to reiterate this to the utmost: referees do not have to give warnings if they see fit. The referee felt the challenge was unsporting behavior, and with it being a second bookable offense, Klose had to walk.
Had Germany quickly adjusted after the sending off, I don’t think they would have lost. Serbia took advantage of Germany’s restlessness, found the space, and Milan Jovanovic punished them for it. Had Klose not felt the need to twice go in from behind, Germany aren’t in the position they are in today.

Harry Kewell’s Red Card Returned Gift From Richard Kingston
Australia has to be kicking themselves over the way they lost three points in this match. While they may have not had the greatest of starts, Australia were given the best gift of all in the eleventh minute when Richard Kingston couldn’t handle the free kick sent in by Bresciano. Frankly, it was a tame free kick that Kingston should have caught with ease. Since he didn’t, Holman was in the perfect position to beat Kingston to the flop and power it home. It was the kind of start Australia needed after their abysmal performance against Germany, and something that should have been taken advantage of to the fullest extent.
It wasn’t. It only took thirteen minutes for Ghana to receive a gift of their own, this time from Harry Kewell. Frankly, Australia did a woeful job in the penalty area clearing a corner kick, and Kewell was backed into a corner. Mensah had a clear path at the far post, and with Kewell backing up, shot it between Kewell’s arm and the far post. With Kewell’s arm out, and the ball touching it, the referee was left with no choice. When the ball is going into the net, and the ball touches the arm, it is an automatic penalty and a red card to the player who’s arm touched it. Asamoah Gyan put home the penalty, getting the gift back Richard Kingston gave Australia so early in the match.
The fact Ghana couldn’t do anything with the advantage was shocking to see. Don’t get me wrong, Ghana had chances, but most of the time they were way too defensive, instead of pushing for a goal that would have most likely have sent them into the second round. Actually, one could argue that Australia had the best chance of the second half when Chipperfield was played on goal, forcing Kingston into a great save. The rebound was eventually cleared, and Australia hung on to snatch a draw.

Matchday 3 in Group D has became very interesting. With Ghana and Germany squaring off, as well as Serbia and Australia, there is a scenario, that if it plays out, does not involve Germany in the round of sixteen. If Serbia defeats Australia, it means Germany has to do the same to Ghana. Anything less, and one of my pre-tournament favorites is heading home much earlier than they would have ever expected.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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