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Sunday, June 27, 2010
Officials miss call on Lampard goal

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BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa -- A World Cup beset by controversy over referees' questionable calls -- or lack thereof -- was hit with another in the first half of Sunday's second-round match between England and Germany when officials failed to give England a goal on a ball that clearly passed the goal line.

With England trailing 2-1 in the first half of Germany's 4-1 victory in the round of 16, a shot from Frank Lampard from just outside the penalty area hit the crossbar and bounced down, but referee Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay did not award a goal.

Replays showed the ball had crossed the goal line by several feet. After landing inside the goal, the ball spun back to German keeper Manuel Neuer.

"It was one of the most important things in the game," England coach Fabio Capello said. "The goal was very important. We could have played a different style.

"We made some mistakes when they played the counterattack. The referee made bigger mistakes."

Germany coach Joachim Loew didn't argue with Capello's points.

"What I saw on the television, this ball was behind the line," Loew said. "It must have been given as goal."

Larrionda and assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa were not made available to comment. FIFA said in a statement that it "will not make any comments on decisions of the referee on the field of play."

The moment recalled a famously controversial goal from the 1966 World Cup final between England and Germany.

In that game, England and Germany were tied at 2-2 in extra time when Geoff Hurst's shot struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and spun back into play. That time, the referee consulted his linesman, who awarded the goal.

Hurst went on to score a third goal in England's 4-2 victory at Wembley.

But Sunday's was a gaffe that has become par for the course in this World Cup and will surely touch off a new round of criticism, despite Germany's pulling away in the second half.

There was also:

• In the Argentina-Mexico second-round match Sunday that followed England-Germany, Carlos Tevez scored on a short-range header midway through the first half to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. But replays showed Tevez was clearly offside. A discussion between the referee and assistant referee ensued with players gathered around in a frenzy. But the goal was ruled to stand.

• Brazilian star Kaka was automatically ejected against Ivory Coast after making a minor amount of contact with Kader Keita to draw a second yellow card of the game.

• In the final group game for the U.S., Clint Dempsey scored in the 21st minute off the rebound of Herculez Gomez's shot. But the goal was called offside. Replays indicated Dempsey was in a fair position.

• Switzerland played a man down after midfielder Valon Behrami was sent off in the 31st minute with a straight red card, getting tangled up with not one, but two Chilean players. Never mind that the second Chilean appeared to be going down in agony before contact was even made.

• Brazil's Luis Fabiano didn't even bother trying to deny he'd handled the ball on the way to his second goal last Sunday night.

• In a first-round Group A match between Mexico and France, Javier Hernandez appeared to be in an offside position when he ran onto Rafael Marquez's pass and went around goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to give Mexico a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute.

• Fabio Quagliarella thought he scored a late equalizer for Italy -- the loss eliminated the defending champions in the group stage -- but he was ruled offside by the smallest of margins, a ruling that was disputed by the Italians and appeared to be an error on replays.

• Australian forward Harry Kewell was sent off in the 24th minute against Ghana after blocking a goal-bound shot with his upper arm. The arm was pinned against his body, but Swiss referee Roberto Rosetti showed Kewell the red card in the first-round match.

And of course there was the "We Wuz Robbed!" goal that wasn't for American Maurice Edu against Slovenia.

Koman Coulibaly's whistle not only nullified Edu's goal, it prompted a wave of outrage. Several days later, the U.S. players were still getting text messages and e-mails about it from folks back home.

Some refs have said they wouldn't mind explaining themselves and can even see the merit of it, but don't expect it to happen anytime soon. Ditto for other measures that could bring a little more transparency to questionable calls.

Soccer's rules-making panel agreed last March not to pursue experiments with technology that could help referees judge goal-line decisions.

And the idea of adding an extra set of eyes behind each goal has also been kicked into the long grass and is not likely to resurface anytime soon.

"We're all accustomed to the fact that if it's an NFL playoff game and there's a call that's in question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees, but FIFA operates differently," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said last week. "From our end, we get used to that. And we all have friends and family who ask us the same questions that most of you ask, and you end up saying that's just how it is sometimes, and then you move on and you get ready for the next game."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.