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Spain's Villa, Argentine Refs send Portugal packing for deserved summer vacation.

June 30, 2010
Villa's offside goal sinks Portugal's dreams. Officiating and over reliance on defensive tactics blamed for Portugal's exit.

David Villa Scores against Eduardo, PortugalShortly after admitting to the officiating errors that led to England's legitimate goal being disalllowed or Argentina's offside goal being allowed against Mexico, it was clear that FIFA had taken steps to minimize ongoing media and public perception damage. "Replays can be shown but not when there are controversial situations. We will work on this and be tighter in future." says Nicola Maingot from FIFA. "It has worked so far very well. Last night was a mistake. It should not happen again," he added and it didn´t. Fast forward to the 63rd minute of the Spain and Portugal game and you would think that Villa's goal was 100% legitimate as video footage focused on the Spanish celebration. The video replay of the goal failed to highlight the start of the play which shows Villa in an offside position before Iniesta's pass.


If you go back to the Argentina-Mexico game, the Tevez offside was played over and over again clearly highlighting the offside with video graphics.

During the broadcast of the Spain-Portugal game, the goal which came from Villa's offside position was not even mentioned. FIFA's directive had worked. With the use of video technology we can confirm that Villa was infact in an offside position and that the linesman was not in line with the play to observe the offside. Better positioning by the linesman, and having a second linesman on the opposite side of the field would have permitted proper officiating of the play.

The goal replay FIFA does not want to play - Villa's goal - Spain vs Portugal

Later in the game as time was running out, Portugal found themselves in an attacking position attempting to claw back a goal. At the 89th minute another incident occured which exposed Joan Capdevilla for a sly shrewd embelisher. The incident occured in the spanish box as Ricardo Costa gained positional advantage to the right of Capdevilla, the reaction to Costa's movement triggered a delayed response in the Spanish defender as he realized the threat of Ricardo Costa, Capdevilla went down like he was sucker punched

The commentary on the Guardian sports site read: 

89´RICARDO COSTA SENT OFF! Portugal's full-back gets his marching orders and it looks like a travesty. Joan Capdevila goes down in the penalty area holding his face and the ref produces a red card, apparently for an elbow. I didn't see one, although the BBC commentary team claim there was some evidence of an elbow flailing in the overhead camera angle.

You be the judge:

No matter the controversy, Spain were deserved to advance by their attacking style of play. It's too bad the World could not see what Portugal had to offer. It's unfortunate that Portugal had to exit this competition after conceding a single goal which should not have stood.

The talent in the Selecçao was superior to what was displayed, unfortunately Carlos Queiroz opted for a tactical strategy focusing on a tight defense with an unsuccessful transitional game. Rather than playing to Portugal's strengths which would have offered a Portugal with more width, possession and midfield dominance, the defensive tactics left an impression of negative football as Cristiano Ronaldo was left to stagnate in the offence symbolically representing Portugal's attacking threat.

Portugal can look to the positives of this World Cup 2010 campaign with the terrific performances of goalkeeper Eduardo and left-back Fabio Coentrao, who are both candidates for the best 11 squad in the 2010 World Cup.

View video highlights of the Spain vs Portugal match here:



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