June 18, 2006

The New York Times does some nice bit of digging on Jorge Larrionda, the ref who endeared himself to soccer fans the world over with his carefree use of the red card in yesterday's U.S.-Italy match. Turns out that Larrionda had a bit of history, getting himself suspended in his native country (Uruguay) on allegations of corruption four years ago, preventing him from working that World Cup, and had blown two calls in a Confed Cup game involving the U.S. and Turkey in 2003, both of which led to Turkish goals.

Meanwhile, it seems that anger at the officiating has been limited to these shores. Elsewhere, the red cards handed out to Mastroeni and Pope have been defended. The Times of London reporter opined that "The match was to finish with just nine men on either side. Simone Perrotta was stretchered off after being caught by the boot of Carlos Bocanegra, and there were no substitutes left to take the field. Ugliness had finished the contest that neither side deserved to win." Der Spiegel agrees, while the title of the Sydney Morning Herald's article on the game ("U.S. Point Way as Red Mist Descends") must be seen clearly seen as a commentary on international disapproval of American foreign policy. Kevin Drum also backs the ref, while moderating a good discussion of the game in his comments section.

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