Friday, July 2, 2010

The African World Cup dream is over for another tournament and in the cruellest of ways.

There can't have been many neutrals watching today's second quarter final that didn't feel sympathy for the Black Stars.

You can argue that neither team had really done enough to win the match in the 120 minutes but Ghana's extra time last second penalty miss by Asamoah Gyan was heartbreaking for the players, the nation and the continent.

You'd have put your money on him converting it. Two penalties already converted in the Finals, best player in a Ghana shirt in the tournament and the chance to have his team become the first ever African semi finalists.

His miss and the two other Ghana misses in the subsequent penalty shoot out that gave Uruguay the 4-2 shoot out win won't be the main talking points of the match though.

Instead, FIFA now have another item to add to the list of things that MUST change in the game. Technology and diving are already high up there. I'd add in the stupid rule of players being booked for celebrating and removing their shirts. Now the big question is, why should a team that deliberately cheat not subsequently be penalised?

Don't get me wrong, if I'd have been in Luis Suarez's shoes I'd have done the exact same thing. I don't blame him one bit. He's a hero to his country. He had nothing to lose as the ball was going in. There wouldn't have been time for Uruguay to do anything, so it was worth the risk that Ghana would miss the penalty or their keeper would save it. The gamble paid off big time and his team are in their first World Cup semi final for 30 years. Well done. If that was a Scottish player that had done that, I'd have been proud.

It's not right though. There should be a rule change that allows deliberate handballs on the line like that to be awarded as a goal. The player should still be sent off for deliberate handball, but the oppostion should not be penalised twice by then having a penalty not converted.

It would be one of the easiest rules to change. It would be one that could be applied worldwide, no matter what level of the game, as FIFA are always keen to point out they need to make such changes.

It's too late for Ghana, but perhaps it's not too late for the next team to go out in such cruel and controversial fashion.

Another headache for the FIFA bigwigs. They're going to be very busy men post tournament.


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