Referees are one of the most important individuals when it comes to the world of football. They have to constantly make decisions that can affect the team’s wins and can even change the outcome of the season or the tournament. They are always under pressure from the fans as they have to face a lot of criticism if they make any wrong decision. Likewise, referees are also people and even they make some mistakes in their careers.
Therefore, in this article, we will talk about the 7 mistakes that were made by the referees in the history of the World Cup.
Diego Maradona’s Hand Goal – World Cup 1986
One of the infamous referee mistakes was made by Ali Bin Nasser. In the 1986 World Cup, in a match between Argentina and England, Maradona scored a goal with his hand. The late Argentine legend acted like he was going to head the ball, but he hit with his left hand instead. And surprisingly, referee Ali Bin Nasser approved the goal despite the English player asking for a handball immediately.
After the match, the referee explained his situation saying he wasn’t well positioned to know what had happened in the field. Likewise, his assistant didn’t say anything to him so he figured it was a legit goal. Look at the goal yourself.
At present, the goal is notoriously known as the “Hand of God” goal. Argentina won that match against England and advance to the semi-final and eventually, they went on to win the World Cup beating Germany in the final. Apparently, 1986 was the last time Argentina won the World Cup.
South Korea’s Home Field Scandals – World Cup 2002
The 2002 World Cup was held in Asian territory for the first time with neighbors South Korea and Japan hosting the tournament together. While most of the things that took place in the tournament were pleasing, including Brazil’s record fifth-time World Cup win, there were a lot of controversies regarding the referee’s decisions as well. In fact, a couple of referees were accused to had favored one of the hosts, South Korea in the crucial matches.
In a couple of matches that South Korea was playing, there happened some blatant errors from the referees that people believed the officials were biased. No matter what was the truth behind those decisions, we can clearly say those errors shaped the World Cup in a different way and ultimately made South Korea the first Asian nation to advance to the semi-final of the competition.
In a match between South Korea and Italy in the knockout round, the match referee, Byron Moreno gave Korea a penalty in the first half that shouldn’t have been given. Moreover, he disallowed what would have been a golden goal by Damiano Tommasi calling it an offside and to make it worse, Moreno showed Francesco Totti a second yellow for diving when he was 40 yards away from the incident.
Similarly, in the quarter-final match between South Korea and Spain, referee Gamal Algondor ruled out two goals, one from Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez and the other one from Fernando Morientes Sánchez. What’s more, Korea’s goalkeeper Lee Won Joy saved a penalty goal but was yards off the line. The goalkeeper should have been shown a yellow card and the penalty should have been retaken, however, Algondor counted the save instead.
England’s World Cup Win – World Cup 1966
England won the World Cup for the first time in 1966 the final match beating the then-one-time champion, Germany. Even though the result made British people more than happy, there were a lot of unhappy faces, especially due to the referee’s decision to allow the goal that should have probably been disallowed.
In the mandatory 90 minutes of the game, Germany and England scored 2 goals each. So, the match went to the extra period. In the 11th minute of the extra time, Jeff Hurst kicked the ball which hit the crossbar and dropped on the goal line appearing like it crossed the line. After the shot, the referee seemed to be in a confusion and consulted with the linesman before finally allowing the goal. Years later, when computer technologies were introduced in football, a particular match was simulated to see if the goal was valid, and it appeared that only 97% of the ball had crossed the goal line, so at today’s time, it would have been called a “no goal.”
But, since there was no such technology at the time, we can say England got the benefit of the doubt rather than calling it an out-and-out blunder.
Mexico’s Curse – Tevez’s Goal In 2010 World Cup Knockout and Controversial Penalty to the Netherlands
Mexico had lost seven consecutive round-of-16 matches before playing against Argentina in 2010. Argentina had already scored three goals in the first half hour of the game, however, their third goal became the talk again since the scorer, Carlos Tevez was clearly offside. Unfortunately, the referee overlooked the offside and gave the goal to the Argentinian.
Similarly, in 2014, Mexico came close to breaking its curse but they were again eliminated in the round of 16 after losing against the Netherlands. Just like the last time, they were again robbed of the win. This time, the referee believed the Dutch striker Arjen Robben was fouled and gave a penalty to the Netherlands, however, it later became clear that Robben just dived without the Mexican defender touching his foot. After scoring the penalty, the Netherlands won the game.
One Of The Most Biased Games In World Cup History – World Cup 1934
In the second ever World Cup was held in Italy in 1934 happened one of the most ridiculous matches in World Cup history. Back then, Italy, the country, was ruled by a dictator Benito Mussolini who wanted to win the cup by hook or crook. In the quarter-final of the tournament, Italy faced Spain where Spain scored two goals against Italy but the referee didn’t give the goals as he sided with Mussolini. As the referee was biased, Italy won the game and eventually ended up winning the cup.
Besides being one of the most biased football matches, it was also one of the most violent football matches in the history of the World Cup. During the game, there were fistfights and some people even had their legs broken.
France’s Most Upsetting World Cup – World Cup 1982
In 1982, France was playing against Germany in the semi-final. While playing the game, Germany’s keeper made an obvious foul on Patrick Battiston. Battiston had three teeth missing, cracked ribs, damaged vertebrae, and was unconscious for more than 30 minutes. After the injury like that, the keeper should have been sent off and everyone would have agreed with that but the referee didn’t take any action for the foul. Moreover, he didn’t even give France a free kick. People were outraged after the decision.
The goalkeeper clearly had no intention to play the ball, however, unfortunately, no action was taken against him. France tied the game until the extra time but was defeated in the penalty where Germany scored five goals whereas they scored 4 goals. Most people blame the referee for France’s defeat.
Three Yellow Cards To The Same Person – World Cup 2006
In the 2006 World Cup, there was a match going on between Australia and Croatia. In the game, the referee Graham Poll made headlines after giving a yellow card to Josip Šimunić three times. Mr. Poll gave him his first yellow card in the 61st minute after making a foul on Harry Kewell. Likewise, Josip received his second yellow card in the 90th minute for another foul. Following that, Šimunić got his third yellow card and finally the red card in the 93rd minute after angrily pushing Poll.
Many people disagreed with his judgment and said that he had let his emotion affect the game.