Out of Africa

I watched last night’s quarter final at Horn of Africa, an African restaurant in Bergheim. It’s tiny, chaotic, next to a petrol station, not run really professionally – and absoutely lovely! Great food, exotic drinks, and the staff are welcoming (Just don’t grunt at the landlady for obstructing your view at the screen and denying you the fifth slo-mo of Uruguay’s equaliser while serving your drinks. In the end, she told the idiot to leave, and rightly so!).

Anyway, the last African team’s exit from the world cup is hard to take even half a day on. There’s no excuse for missing penalties, but in a perfect world, Uruguay would be out!

Or in rugby. This world cup is again showing why I’m starting to prefer rugby over football. No mobbing the referee, no diving (cause bringing you down is the defender’s job in the first place), no hesitation to support the ref by video data if necessary. And no chance of a situation like last night.

Imagine this: If the Uruguay defender does not use his hand to stop the ball on the goal line, it’s a 100 per cent certainty that Ghana score and go through to the semi-final. But he does break the rule and is sent off, which, in the last second of extra-time, is not a disadvantage for his team. Instead, he wins them a 50-50 chance to stay in for a little longer. Ghana miss, an Uruguay finally go through on penalties.

In short: Unsportsmanlike behaviour has been rewarded.

Think of a parallel situation in rugby (say, a tripping just short of the try line). There wouldn’t be a penalty kick (three points possible), but a penalty try (five points certain). So, even if the defender decides to break the rules, the consequences on the scoreboard are the same (or even worse by handing the opposition the easiest of conversions).

But with Fifa being unable to even talk about the introduction of TMOs (come on, ice hockey, rugby, cricket, tennis show how to do it!), you could only dream about a change in rules to introduce a similar “penalty goal”.


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