Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The First Goal Of Its Kind In History
June 16, 2014 12:53 AM   Subscribe

Footballing History was made last night when France striker Karim Benzema scored against Honduras. Due to the position of the Honduran Goalkeeper, it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the line, and the goal line technology was called into action and controversially gave a goal.
posted by marienbad (113 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The TV angle from above and behind the goal was embarrassingly inconclusive which may be why so many people are still claiming the technology failed.
The side angle showed it was definitely over the line.
posted by fullerine at 1:03 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


There's nothing controversial about that - it was over the line.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:04 AM on June 16 [22 favorites]


The technology worked and made it, well, pretty clear. Ball hits the post: not over the line. Ball then hits the goalkeepers, wanders slightly over the line. Technology - not the TV - shows this up unambiguously. Goalkeeper hurriedly collects the ball and gets rid of it with "I know this has gone over the line but if I get rid of the ball very quickly and pretend it didn't people will conclude a goal did not happen" body language.

The media and banal footballing commentary try and make this ambiguous to create a talking point (useful for commentators on, especially, ITV as "ball" "line" "over" "goal" are all small and simple words). Honduras coach patriotically is upset, denies there is a goal. Everyone else is "Oh. Goal. Right, moving on."

FIFA and football is endemically corrupt, from the highest level down to the lowest e.g. parents of players at school matches verbally abusing and attacking referees. But on this occasion, their system worked.
posted by Wordshore at 1:06 AM on June 16 [13 favorites]


Hurray for FIFA! (I have Benzema in the office sweepstake.)
posted by biffa at 1:07 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I couldn't see what the controversy was at first, as the ball is clearly across the line in the stills, but apparently, the screen on the stadium first showed "no goal" (in reaction to the ball hitting the goal post) before changing to "goal" in a few seconds.

FIFA seem to have blocked all videos of the goal on Youtube, but you can watch the highlights on fifa.com.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:08 AM on June 16


There was nothing controversial about the goal whatsoever. Both the goalline technology and the alternate camera angle showed that the ball clearly crossed the line.

The only confusion was that the TV replay (and screens inside the stadium) first showed the goalline technology showing that the initial shot had not crossed the line (also correct), and some people were confused into thinking that was a statement about the bounce off the keeper, which it wasn't.
posted by modernnomad at 1:08 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


[On preview, several people have made this point as I was typing] Yeah, the only controversy was caused by idiot commentators - the ball hit the far post but didn't cross the line, so the technology correctly showed no goal. Then it bounced across the goal and the goalie knocked it in. At that point, the technology correctly showed a goal. I am absolutely bemused that people who are paid money to commentate on sport cannot understand this.

Bleacher Report and the Metro have a nice round-up of tweets in response to the ITV commentators.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:09 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


It doesn't look like all of the ball is over the line in the picture on this page. Also, Honduras' coach is awesomely called Luis Suarez!

I know about the awful and stupid commentary. Also, Well Done France, that's how to beat Honduras. Are you watching, England?
posted by marienbad at 1:10 AM on June 16


biffa: "Hurray for FIFA! (I have Benzema in the office sweepstake.)"
The goal was correctly credited as an own goal for Valladares (the Honduran goalie), not for Benzema.

I'm impressed with all the people who can clearly see it's over the line on the TV images. I couldn't. And I'm equally impressed with all the people (not in this thread though) who claims the system is infallibly objective. Have these people ever worked in software development?
posted by brokkr at 1:16 AM on June 16


As understandable as it is to assume it was ITV commentators being hopelessly confused simpletons, Pearce is BBC through and though.
posted by fullerine at 1:19 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


marienbad: if you look at the video at the top of the Metro link Pink Frost posted, you'll see that the ball actually went further into the goal than the image in the BBC article shows. At the moment of the BBC still, the goalie has already got his hand on the ball and is shoving it back out.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:19 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


That wasn't Pearce's best moment as a commentator; first he was confused during the whole goal line replay when the technology showed that 1) Benzema's original shot hit the cross post and didn't cross the line and 2) showed it bouncing off the keeper's back to cross the line. Then, if that wasn't bad enough, he confused a ball in the sidenet with a goal a couple of minutes later.

Must've been the hot weather.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:41 AM on June 16


Poop.
posted by biffa at 2:15 AM on June 16


Then, if that wasn't bad enough, he confused a ball in the sidenet with a goal a couple of minutes later.

To be fair at very first glance that did look like a goal as you could see it hit the net. He make fun of himself for the mistake.
posted by billiebee at 2:29 AM on June 16


I have been really annoyed with how this has been played up as a "controversy". It's only a controversy because of an idiot commentator who doesn't seem to understand that the ball can hit the post AND also go in from the same strike. It was not impossible to tell if it went over the line, it's pretty clear that it goes over the line in video replay. It's just the first time it corrected the ref using a method accepted by the sports body.

And I'm equally impressed with all the people (not in this thread though) who claims the system is infallibly objective. Have these people ever worked in software development?

Hawk Eye has been used in tennis for a while (which, the fact that it actually calculates ball "squishiness" to see if it touches the line is really dubious to me*) so I think goal line technology is easily acceptable. Note the wiki article states that Hawk Eye is not infallible. I don't know who thinks goal line technology is infallible, but it's clearly a valuable tool than relying just on referees.

*I personally think Hawk Eye is a monkey in the studios picking a peanut out of two cans marked "In" and "Out".
posted by like_neon at 2:32 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


FIFA is using a similar German system, GoalControl, which uses seven highspeed cameras (500 fps) on each side. Seems overly complicated to me -- if a topdown goalcam is good enough for ice hockey, surely it should be good enough for football? -- but it's not that tricky from an engineering standpoint.
posted by effbot at 2:49 AM on June 16


the difference is that the topdown goalcam for hockey is used by humans to review whether or not the puck crossed the line... there is no video review in football, even with this new goalline technology system - the system determines goal/no goal, and the ref has a watch that buzzes to indicate the decision. there is no option for the ref or the assistant ref to actually review the footage - that's there just for TV audiences.
posted by modernnomad at 2:52 AM on June 16


It's 2014 and we still can't tell whether a sports ball has definitively crossed a line? If it weren't for that FoxTrax hockey puck fiasco in the 90s, by now we'd have some sort of millimeter-accurate GPS receiver inside the ball, triangulation sensors built into the venue, and a live stream of the ball's 3D telemetry tastefully animated in real time. The ball would be a non-issue and we'd be arguing about putting sensors inside helmets, rackets, footwear, and catcher's mitts.
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:54 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


No we can easily tell, but FIFA has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point following cock-ups like this at the last world. cup. As well as goal line technology, we really should have a TV match official to review calls, but FIFA fuhrer Blatter has been adamant for a long time about 'keeping the human element', 'keeping the game free flowing', 'controversies make the game interesting' etc., ignoring the fact that other comparable sports like rugby and American football have successfully had replays for ages. As soccer is such a low scoring game, the amount of games decided by bad refereeing decisions is truly inexcusable.
posted by kersplunk at 3:04 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


comparable sports like rugby and American football have successfully had replays for ages

The difference is, in rugby and American football, stoppages don't count as part of the playing time (as a result of which an average NFL game, with a nominal duration of 60 minutes, now lasts more than three hours). In soccer, stoppages are counted as a part of play time; replays would either drastically cut into the time actually spent playing, increase the amount of stoppage time added to the end of each half, or require massive changes to the rules to accommodate for stopping the clock. So it's not as simple as just letting the ref take a look at the big screen.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:25 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


I hate Blatter as much as the next guy, but we absolutely do not need or want video reviews in football (which Blatter has recently proposed, by the way). As daniel_charms implies, stoppage time is a way to squeeze ad breaks into games.
posted by brokkr at 3:31 AM on June 16 [8 favorites]


I hate Blatter as much as the next guy, but we absolutely do not need or want video reviews in football

I do, it would reduce cheating dramatically -especially if coupled to a change in rules around fouls (spitballing but say carding for obvious dives and no penalty kicks but carding them sending off foulers). You could even put a limit on them like challenges with Hawkeye.

I find it impossible to enjoy some football matches because of the rampant cheating - the Cameroon v Mexico was insane; I've seen fewer holds in a ufc tournament and both teams were taking more dives than Greg Lagunas. Cameroon was especially bad.

Argentina today were much more restrained.
posted by smoke at 3:49 AM on June 16


smoke: "especially if coupled to a change in rules around fouls (spitballing but say carding for obvious dives and no penalty kicks but carding them sending off foulers). "
I don't understand what "no penalty kicks but carding them sending off foulers" means, but diving is already penalized with a card. At least if the ref knows the rules.

I'd much rather have more stringent post-match video reviews with stricter quarantines for offenders.
posted by brokkr at 3:56 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


This is a good use of technology. The only real confusion was that there were two goals in quick succession and some announcers weren't paying close enough attention.

It would be a shame if they were to add video reviews or time outs. I hate the replays in American football. The game is slow and ponderous. I also don't see how challenges could be worked into soccer game play. In tennis and American football there are logical breaks in the play. Not so with soccer.
posted by missmerrymack at 3:57 AM on June 16


Heh I think you mean diving is very sporadically carded. I think post match review would be fine, too, but it won't prevent on the spot injustice. Basically I think any effort to reduce the endemic cheating would be good.

I would note that every sport I can recall that brought in video reffing has a large proportion of people saying it would destroy game, and the game has always been fine. If the change sucks they can always go back.
posted by smoke at 4:00 AM on June 16


I also don't see how challenges could be worked into soccer game play. In tennis and American football there are logical breaks in the play. Not so with soccer.

Football has tonnes of breaks. Every time there is a penalty kick there is a lengthy delay, there is a shorter one for a corner, goal kick, or off side, there is a shorter still for a throw in. When a foul is called or someone is carded there is usually a lengthy delay as players remonstrate with the ref or pretend a small cuff may have fractured three quarters of the bones in their bodies..Plenty of breaks.
posted by smoke at 4:07 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Video replays would have stopped Ireland being eliminated after Thierry Henry's handball.

I'm over it. no really
posted by billiebee at 4:11 AM on June 16 [8 favorites]


I'm not over it, billiebee. No sir/madam.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:17 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


As daniel_charms implies, stoppage time is a way to squeeze ad breaks into games.

It's also a way to make sure the home team has a chance to come back.
posted by Etrigan at 4:19 AM on June 16


There is a reason that the cameras used for this goal-line system are very high frames-per-second: the ball (and players) can move along way in 4ms!

It really irritates me when people take freeze frames from TV coverage and claim it shows the maximum extent of the ball's movement. The picture doesn't show that, it shows a snapshot of where the ball was when the camera's sensor scanned that part of the frame. You can extrapolate where it was between frames if there aren't complicated forces acting on it, but in this case the ball was spinning and being handled by a player.

As the 500fps footage is not available for review[1] we can't do a human review of the decision the system made. All we can know is that it should have had access to very high resolution source data and has been independently tested previously and found to judge that source data very accurately and consistently - more so than referees or referees' assistants.

The "controversial" element is, as noted above, purely down to the 2 results of 2 separate reviews being poorly presented to an excited and partisan audience.

[1] I have read that the game was filmed at 4K and at 60fps (although not necessarily 4K at 60fps, there are a lot of cameras in use), it would be very interesting to see that footage.
posted by samworm at 4:21 AM on June 16


Football has tonnes of breaks. Every time there is a penalty kick there is a lengthy delay, there is a shorter one for a corner, goal kick, or off side, there is a shorter still for a throw in.

Have you watched American football? The breaks are between each and every play, so it is easy to work in the video review. And I even hate it in that context. There's a lot of gamesmanship with time outs and challenges because they can disrupt a team's momentum. Let's not even talk about the TV time outs they add in so we can all watch ads.

Soccer has its pauses, but it is not as broken up as American football and that's part of why I enjoy watching it.

Anyway, back to the topic of the goal line technology.
posted by missmerrymack at 4:51 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


"marienbad: if you look at the video at the top of the Metro link Pink Frost posted, you'll see that the ball actually went further into the goal than the image in the BBC article shows. At the moment of the BBC still, the goalie has already got his hand on the ball and is shoving it back out."

It is still a very close call - there was a camera on the other side and they played the reverse angle last night and it still looked tight, is that footage online?
posted by marienbad at 4:59 AM on June 16


p.s. I did actually want France to win this game, this is not some anti-French thing. Valbuena, Matuidi, Cabaye, Benzema and Pogba were excellent last night.
posted by marienbad at 5:00 AM on June 16


In the average 90 minutes + injury time match, the ball is in play around 60-65 minutes. Reviewing 3 or 4 controversial incidents on video won't significantly change the flow of the game.
posted by kersplunk at 5:06 AM on June 16


I'm equally impressed with all the people (not in this thread though) who claims the system is infallibly objective. Have these people ever worked in software development?

It doesn't matter if the system is infallible. What matters is if it is more accurate than human eyesight, and I imagine it's probably orders of magnitude more accurate than our puny wetware.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:11 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Cricket has been trialing and using tech such as Hot Spot, Hawk-Eye and the Snickometer for a while now. Helps tremendously in greatly reducing the proportion of incorrect out or not out decisions.
posted by Wordshore at 5:16 AM on June 16


I'm impressed with all the people who can clearly see it's over the line on the TV images. I couldn't.

I'm with you. I've seen all of the angles multiple times, and I don't think it's possible to see it definitely cross the line in them. I see no reason to question the technology. If I had to make a decision based only on those images, though, I'd be saying it was close but probably no goal.
posted by cincinnatus c at 5:27 AM on June 16


smoke: "Football has tonnes of breaks. Every time there is a penalty kick there is a lengthy delay, there is a shorter one for a corner, goal kick, or off side, there is a shorter still for a throw in. When a foul is called or someone is carded there is usually a lengthy delay as players remonstrate with the ref or pretend a small cuff may have fractured three quarters of the bones in their bodies..Plenty of breaks."
Okay, let's say we introduce challenges.

A player from Team A is apparently fouled in Team B's penalty area, but the ref lets the play continue, leading to a great counter opportunity for Team B. Team A's coach now throws a challenge.

Option 1: play is immediately stopped and footage is reviewed.

Option 2: play continues until the next break, and footage is reviewed.

Both options have their own set of problems. With option 1, Team B just lost a goal-scoring opportunity. If the challenge fails, how do you continue play?

With option 2, say that Team B continues bearing down on Team A's goal, and an A defender makes a clear tactical foul that should be red carded. The Team B defender sadly breaks his ankle due to the challenge, and a penalty is awarded. However, while waiting for Team B to take the penalty, the footage is reviewed and Team A should have been awarded a penalty. How is the situation resolved?
posted by brokkr at 5:45 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


I was watching this game in a restaurant with the sound turned down and the replay showed it clearly was a goal. Without the inane commentary I had no idea there was any controversy until I saw this post. Seems media manufactured to me.
posted by photoslob at 5:52 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Yeah I was watching and this is the dumbest thing. Most definitely not expecting to see this wash up on MetaFilter. Boo.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:01 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Oh, Wilson Palacios. Such a nice guy but such a clumsy man on the field.
posted by josher71 at 6:06 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


In soccer, stoppages are counted as a part of play time; replays would either drastically cut into the time actually spent playing, increase the amount of stoppage time added to the end of each half, or require massive changes to the rules to accommodate for stopping the clock. So it's not as simple as just letting the ref take a look at the big screen.

There's about 30 minutes of "non play" play time per game, and in no way does stoppage time actually recover that -- just look at the time spent setting up throw-ins, goal kicks, corner kicks, and free kicks*. It barely handles the time for subs. It doesn't cover the true time wasted after a goal, and nowhere near recovers the true time with serious injury.

Don't believe me? You have a smart phone, probably, which means you have a stop watch. Three matches today. When the ball goes out of play, start the clock until the ball is thrown in or kicked in. When the whistle blows, start the clock until it is kicked into play again. At 45/90 minutes, look at the real stoppage time.

Part of the reason is that you can't play 90 honest minutes without subs. I get that. But pretending that it's more honest to let the clock run and play "90 minutes" when you're only playing 60, then pretend to add some stoppage time (ignoring every throw-in, corner kick and goal kid) is just inane. It's not 90 minutes of play.

The single biggest problems with soccer is the Unholy Addiction To The One True Ref. Get multiple officials on the field, get a real timekeeper that stops the clock when the ball is out of play and starts it when it is, set the halves to 30 minutes, which is more reflective of how much time is actually played per half, and 95 percent of the problems disappear -- and you get rid of the "how long is 3 minutes of extra time today?" issue.**. You could even have, if you must, the One True Ref signal when to stop and start the clock -- which is, BTW, exactly how US Football does it.

As to "multiple refs won't make consistent calls?" So? Single refs don't. And, again, as to cards -- you have a crew chief, or in US Football, the actual Referee (he's the one in the white cap) who makes ejection decisions. So, the other refs -- just as the AR's do today -- could suggest a card, but only the crew chief would handle bookings. Though, I'll point out that Baseball gets along fine with every umpire able to warn and then eject a player.

And if multiple officials gets rid of the whine at the ref problem, I'm all for it. Then again, this is the refs fault and the league's fault. By the Laws, the only person able to question a call is the captain. When five of them come over pleading/arguing, I'd just pull out the yellow card and book every single one that isn't. Within two days that would stop.

The reason soccer players are whiney little divers (and they are) is that the refs get away with it. If the refs didn't -- and the leagues backed the refs for doing it -- then it would stop. Players do it because it gets them an advantage. See basketball and hockey, where it's happening more and more, though hockey is trying hard to stamp it out and actually calls simulation. Baseball, there's not really an opportunity, and if you did, you'd get hit by a pitch the next time you were at bat.

Reviewing 3 or 4 controversial incidents on video won't significantly change the flow of the game.

The one actual problem with this is that in US football, and basketball, there's a natural time to review the play -- right after the play has ended and before the next one begins. In Basketball, stoppages for goals, ball out of bounds, or timeouts is common enough that you can quickly find a break in play, and most of the time, there would be a break in play anyway to do the review. Ditto Cricket, ditto Tennis. And all of those sports have adopted some form of review without major changes to the flow of the game.

In soccer, there isn't. Sure, after a goal-that-actually-isn't, there's plenty of time. Goal Line Technology (holy shit, I'm on topic!) handles this very well, as we've already seen. Say you want to dispute the awarding of a throw-in. You have very few seconds to get in and challenge that call. In the case of a shot that went in, but the ref thinks it didn't, there may be no time at all.

The big change to the flow of the game with review is that you are going to have to, in many cases, stop a ball in play. And this leads to a nasty tactical trick if the coaches or players can call for that review. You make a shot that doesn't quite go in. You know it, but the ball bounces and the other team is on a good counterattack -- and you say "Hey, that ball went in REVIEW" and the attack is stopped.

But really, this is the real core objection to Review in Soccer -- the nature of the game is that while there are, in fact, many stoppages in play, they are all very short. You just don't have time to decide if you need a review, and the technical staff on the sidelines doesn't have the tools to know if to ask for it, and even if it is all booth review, there are very few seconds to review a play and if the call is reversed, get that call down the the field.

That's the real flow-of-the-game argument. The clock argument is nonsense. Here's a worst case. Shot does a weird bounce and comes out of the goal after being a valid goal, gets booted forward by a defenseman to a flying attacker, who scores, yay yay yay! Then the ref finds out the ball actually went in. So, to the fans, the goal that "didn't" go it counts, but the goal that clearly went it doesn't.

If you can get the right call in well before that goal scores, great. But if you can't, if it's going to be 30-60 seconds to get the right call in, you basically have to rewind the clock and discount the play that happened in that period.

That's a very, very big change to the flow of the game, and that's one that's rightly worried about. Goal review is easy, because the technology is fast enough to handle it and play is likely to be at a slow pace or stopped. Line calls? That's much harder.



* Though the best thing the world has come up with is the marking foam to keep the wall from creeping up and the ball from creeping up. You can thank Liga MX in Mexico for the idea of keeping the wall in place and coming up with the foam, but MLS was the first to also mark where the free kick was to be taken from. You could tell, though, that using it takes some practice. The MLS ref made lovely clean lines. Some of the others, not so much. :-)

** This is not related to the "What time is the 3 O'Clock parade" problem at Disney, where sometimes the 3 O'Clock Parade isn't at 3 O'Clock. Cast members are trained to answer the question you meant to ask, not the one you actually asked, so it would be fine for them to answer "2PM" to that question, if the parade was an hour earlier than normal.
posted by eriko at 6:19 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


"Yeah I was watching and this is the dumbest thing. Most definitely not expecting to see this wash up on MetaFilter. Boo."
posted by BeerFilter

This is the first goal in history to be awarded by glt at a World Cup Finals, and it is somewhat controversial because from some of the tv angles it appears that the whole of the ball may not have crossed the line. Sorry I'm not as smart as you to be able to instantly tell it was a goal.

I am also in favour of retroactive punishment, so after, where the ref has missed a yellow card, the player could be given one by the video refs. This would mean no (more) interruptions to play, and create a disincentive fot players to behave badly.
posted by marienbad at 6:22 AM on June 16


It's not about smarts. Do your eyes work? Ball hits post, no goal, deflects to keeper who fumbles it over the line, goal. End of. H.A.N.D. I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just literally cannot fathom how there is ANY controversy whatsoever.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:42 AM on June 16


BeerFilter: "It's not about smarts. Do your eyes work?"
Would you be so kind as to link to an image or video where the ball is conclusively, obviously, without a doubt completely over the line? I haven't seen any yet.
posted by brokkr at 6:45 AM on June 16


Would you be so kind as to link to an image or video where the ball is conclusively, obviously, without a doubt completely over the line?

Sure.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:49 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


eriko: "The single biggest problems with soccer is the Unholy Addiction To The One True Ref. Get multiple officials on the field"
You realize it's hard enough to get a decent number of sufficiently qualified refs to take the black today, right? Outside of the EPL and a few other of the most money-heavy leagues, most places we rely on part-timers doing refereeing as a hobby or a part-time job at best.

I keep hearing people argue that football should be more like American Football. I don't understand why these people don't just watch American Football.
posted by brokkr at 6:51 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Ice Cream Socialist: "Sure."
The pitch wasn't blue so I'd hazard a guess and say that's not an actual image of the ball.
posted by brokkr at 6:52 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


It sure is conclusive, though.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:54 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


so i guess you all saw that ludicrous display last night?
posted by rebent at 7:14 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


Would you be so kind as to link to an image or video where the ball is conclusively, obviously, without a doubt completely over the line?

This is the view I kept seeing in all the side angle video replays. Looked pretty clearcut to me.
posted by like_neon at 7:15 AM on June 16 [6 favorites]


It's somewhat difficult to find videos because FIFA is being hyperactive about chopping them down but here's the entire sequence from the Goal-Line Tech output.

I'm guessing the core argument is going to be Folks Who Accept GLT vs Folks Who Reject GLT. I can't presume to speak for all the acceptors but personally I feel an expensive system of 7 high speed cameras whose observations will be subject to untold scrutiny (thus having a lot of pressure on the developer/implementor to get it right) will be a no worse, and likely much better judge of whether the ball has crossed the line than the linesmen or the ref. I've been watching tennis with Hawkeye for 7 years now. Nothing is perfect but there's no sane person alive who could argue that hawkeye misses more calls than human line judges.

I'm also betting that nothing will convince GLT Rejectors that the system works. See the above "the pitch isn't blue" comment.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:16 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


"the only person able to question a call is the captain. When five of them come over pleading/arguing, I'd just pull out the yellow card and book every single one that isn't"

This, oh so much this. It's bad enough when I see this will local leagues, but at the professional level this is un-acceptable. If you're not the captain, shut the hell up. This was conditioned into me from a young age playing soccer.
The other pet-peeve is all the arms up in the air, grabbing/pushing/pulling/illegally shielding. I wish they would come down hard on that also. If you're not a goalie your arms are only used for balance, keep them down!

As for GLT, I'm ok with it. But it really shouldn't be necessary.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:24 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


The other pet-peeve is all the arms up in the air, grabbing/pushing/pulling/illegally shielding. I wish they would come down hard on that also. If you're not a goalie your arms are only used for balance, keep them down!

Unfortunately, that's just the way the game is played now.
posted by josher71 at 7:25 AM on June 16


BeerFilter: "I'm also betting that nothing will convince GLT Rejectors that the system works. See the above "the pitch isn't blue" comment."
I'm not rejecting whether GLT works. I'm wondering about all the people - like you - who claim to have been able to clearly see themselves the ball was in. It does mostly look like it's in in like_neon's image, but it's not conclusive to me.

And no, a screenshot from a computer program with an image of a ball on a blue background is not "seeing the ball is clearly in". That's being told by a computer the ball was in.
posted by brokkr at 7:29 AM on June 16


This is the view I kept seeing in all the side angle video replays. Looked pretty clearcut to me.

That looks conclusive, but it's frustrating that the camera there is not actually on the goalline. The angle looks slight enough that it might not matter, but it's not where you actually need a camera. I trust the GLT to be right, but it would be nice to have a better camera angle.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:32 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


That's being told by a computer the ball was in.

Yes, that's it exactly. The computer told the ref's watch the ball was in, then sent screenshots to the video stack which were shown on TV. That's what a goal is now.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:36 AM on June 16


"Unfortunately, that's just the way the game is played now."

It really shouldn't be. That's a basic part of soccer and it kind of ruins the game for me. I end up spending way too much time getting pissed off at clear violations of basic soccer rules that we can teach a 10 year old to follow with no problem.
Coaches and refs need to get on fixing this.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:36 AM on June 16


My apologies to everyone for my snark. I don't mean to come across so belligerently.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:51 AM on June 16


Outside of the EPL and a few other of the most money-heavy leagues, most places we rely on part-timers doing refereeing as a hobby or a part-time job at best.

And in those places, having fewer referees is fine. No one is seriously complaining that Hamish McParttimer is fucking up the Beautiful Game because he missed a close call in Lochgilphead-Tarbert. People are complaining because the world championship is so frequently determined based on something that the sole referee on the field missed or mistook.

Vanishing foam, for instance -- that's done because the referee is obviously too busy during free kicks to prevent encroachment by the defending team. If there were enough officials in place to say, "Oi, you're creeping up --stop it," then we wouldn't need the foam.
posted by Etrigan at 8:02 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I hate Blatter as much as the next guy, but we absolutely do not need or want video reviews in football

Ugh agreed, I absolutely do not want to deal with endless breaks for video replays and nitterdy-natterdy, which is one of the many things that makes american football so godawful tedious to watch.


I keep hearing people argue that football should be more like American Football.

Those people are bad people and I hope you tell them so at great length. Possibly with diagrams.
posted by elizardbits at 8:02 AM on June 16 [12 favorites]


Blech. NO to in game video replays for sure.
The only other change I think would be good is if they set the clock to the referees watch, like in rugby and get rid of stoppage time. I don't think this would stop the flow of the game and would certainly save me a few gray hairs. But maybe since Ferguson retired "Fergie time" is not as much of an issue?(hamburger)
posted by like_neon at 8:18 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Slate has a really nice write up on this, with multiple camera angles.
posted by oddman at 8:24 AM on June 16


And no, a screenshot from a computer program with an image of a ball on a blue background is not "seeing the ball is clearly in". That's being told by a computer the ball was in.

Maybe we can get a computer to tell us other things, too.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:25 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I finally found the original 4k/60fps camera output of the GLT computer network online. Here it is :-)
posted by nostrada at 8:25 AM on June 16


BeerFilter - I am in favour of GLT, it is instantaneous, doesn't interrupt play and solves a problem. But in this instance it looks like the ball is not fully over the line. As mentioned above, we need a camera on the line view. Also, as I mentioned before, the reverse angle is also inconclusive, but I can't find video of it.
posted by marienbad at 8:29 AM on June 16


But in this instance it looks like the ball is not fully over the line. As mentioned above, we need a camera on the line view.

But doesn't this sort of defeat the purpose of GLT? If it's obvious that the ball went in, nobody would even be talking about using GLT. If we're going to use the system at all, we have to just believe that it's correct. I am not saying it is infallible, but we have to believe it's correct enough to use it in these possibly ambiguous moments and go with it's call.
posted by like_neon at 8:37 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


But in this instance it looks like the ball is not fully over the line.

It looks clearly and indisputably over the line to me.
posted by yoink at 8:39 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


Another voice to the chorus:
1) ball hits post, is not inside the goal
2) then ball hits goalie, is absolutely and indiscussably over the line. goalie knows this and looks the part.

No controversy here.
posted by Riton at 8:44 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I keep hearing people argue that football should be more like American Football. I don't understand why these people don't just watch American Football.

Well, I do. There is no law that you cannot watch multiple sports. I also watch Hockey, which is much more similar to Football. And Cricket. And Aussie Rules.

Please note that I pointed out why video review as done in US Football/Cricket/Baseball/Tennis simply cannot work in Soccer. Hockey gets the buzzer down to the ref fast enough, but there's still times when an awful lot of play goes before the ruling changes, and then they have to rewind the game to that point. Indeed, if you want to look at any sport for lessons that Soccer could take, Ice Hockey deals with many of the same issues.

You can get better refs if the league wants them. More importantly, right now what you want at the world cup is Amazingly Good Refs, and they are few and far between, and a Just Ok ref can't keep up with the whole field. But I'll bet four Decent Refs would do a much better job than one Amazingly Good Ref. There are times when an official gets the call wrong in US football. And, 90% of the time when that happens, another official points it out and it gets corrected. Hockey officiating became markedly better when we had two refs on the ice, because one can watch the play on the puck and one can watch the BS happening elsewhere. I simply don't think 2 sets of eyes are enough on the vastly larger soccer pitch, with almost double the number of players on it.

What amazed me most, though, is that Mark Geiger did an excellent job of handling the Columbia/Greece match Saturday, and he's an MLS ref, and they *suck.* The second most amazing thing is how you don't put at least your 2nd best ref on the opening game. Yuichi Nishimura was just out of his depth, and that was a horrible, horrible match. Then again, we all remember Webb in the 2014 final.

Another thing I'd love to see is if they could speed up the TV system for showing offsides enough to make it useful for the linesman. (Aside - if you're given the choice of an less that competent ref or less than competent linesman, take the good linesmen.) Right now, it's accurate enough, but it's only useful for proving if the lineman made the right call.
posted by eriko at 8:54 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Why does play need to stop for review?

The ref makes the call at the time and play continues as it normally would. You have a central video office immediately review the feed to confirm/overturn the ruling. The central video office has 2 minutes to make the decision. You'd have small cameras behind the spot where each post meets the crossbar.

If a called no goal is overturned you whistle the play dead and tack one on the scoreboard. Any scoring after this would not count. Any red/yellow cards would stand. The ref can add +2 minutes at the end and keep the game moving.

If a goal is ruled on the field and deemed controversial, there's going to be at least 2 minutes of celebrating/arguing the call anyway so having the video office review the call wouldn't slow down the game.

The NHL/IIHF have been using video review of goals for years and it's really worked out great and has to be cheaper that 250k per stadium.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:55 AM on June 16


Oh, and props to the technology. I seriously doubt even a goal line judge would have given that goal. It was clearly over the line, but it was just over, and it was over for only a tiny fraction of a second.

The Laws are clear -- a ball completely over the line in the goal is a goal. Not "completely over the line long enough for an official to notice." The technology got this one exactly right.
posted by eriko at 8:59 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


I was watching that game last night (not live, we DVR'ed it) and my husband and I slow-framed our way through all the individual shots. That ball was over the line. It wasn't very much over the line, and it wasn't over the line for very long, but you could see it from more than one angle -- ball, green, line. No controversy, just a goal that humans alone wouldn't have been sure enough of to score.
posted by KathrynT at 9:15 AM on June 16


I agree that a replay/challenge system is likely too disruptive to soccer to ever receive serious consideration by FIFA — regardless of whether it's a good idea. Soccer innovations come in tiny increments, so anything that can't be broken up into increments has no chance of happening.

I think eriko is right when he says that having only one ref is the biggest problem facing soccer. Whereas the NFL responded to the rapidly-evolving game by adding referees — roughly doubling the size of an officiating team in a single generation — soccer has this originalist streak that predicts a parade of horribles every time someone suggests amending the Laws.

To move toward multiple referees, FIFA would need to abandon the flexibility that allows them to mix and match officials (referee one match, then serve as the fourth official a few days later), since experience and communication among the team of officials would be far more important than it is now. Otherwise, every what-if has been resoundingly answered by the NFL. FIFA could do this and it wouldn't be that scary.
posted by savetheclocktower at 9:17 AM on June 16


If a called no goal is overturned you whistle the play dead and tack one on the scoreboard.

Far more important than goals -- which we've actually solved -- is things like who put a ball out of touch (thus, who gets possession -- and it's huge when you're looking at a corner instead of a goal kick) and the holy grail, catching the divers.

Whereas the NFL responded to the rapidly-evolving game by adding referees — roughly doubling the size of an officiating team in a single generation — soccer has this originalist streak that predicts a parade of horribles every time someone suggests amending the Laws.

The NFL needs more referees because the NFL has many more rules about forms of illegal contact, and of course, there's vastly more contact. The players are very compressed at the start of the play. US Football had the advantage of being a new sport that was evolving rapidly, so adding officials wasn't the dramatic historical change that adding a 2nd ref infield in soccer would be.

Then again, the NHL figured this out. It's not quite as old as soccer, but the exact same arguments I hear against more than one ref in Soccer were made against having more than just The Ref in Hockey. And, yet, two refs has proven to work very well, and it's become the standard in most of the top leagues, in the Olympics, and this last season, in the NCAA.

Also, if we had four on-field refs, the "4th" official, and the two linesman, we'd have 7 officials watching 22 players on roughly 7000m2 of playing surface. Guess how many the NFL considers needed for that area and number of players? :- Then again, given what I just said, this is an argument against my position of 4 refs, and we certainly wouldn't, or should, start with more than one extra ref.

But I do think we should have at least two refs on the pitch.
posted by eriko at 10:05 AM on June 16


Meanwhile, in Portugal v Germany, Pepe's headbutt is clearly visible.
posted by chavenet at 11:31 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


The comparisons and denigrations to American Football are nonsense. American Football is a Turn-Based Strategy game and Soccer/Football is a Real Time Strategy game. As an RTS, soccer obviously shouldn't have replays.
posted by yeti at 11:39 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


I found a video here and while the announcer said it stayed out, I can clearly see that the keeper grabbed the ball with his left hand, which was unequivocally past the line. Therefore, goal.

I can see how in the moment there was confusion, but in hindsight I think it was a clear goal.
posted by Night_owl at 11:39 AM on June 16


On second thought, how cool would it be for a ball that changes color based on whoever hit it last for goal kick / corner kick disputes???

/hamburger
posted by yeti at 11:40 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


Another thing that is annoying me is the amount of yards stolen at throw ins. On one the other day, the throw in shouold have been in line with the edge of the 18 yard box, and the guy walked and turned, and feigned, and looked around, and walked some more and looked around and shuffled forward a bit and then ran and threw it in. By the time he let the ball go he had stolen 10-15 yards, possibly more.

Also a lot of these throw-ins look a bit dicey, I keep thinking, surely that's a foul throw?
posted by marienbad at 11:41 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


I think Pepe's red card was harsh although I understand why it was given.
posted by josher71 at 11:49 AM on June 16


Night_owl: "I can clearly see that the keeper grabbed the ball with his left hand, which was unequivocally past the line. Therefore, goal. "
I'm sorry, but you seem to have no idea about the rules of football then.

The entire ball has to cross the entire line for there to be a goal. It is absolutely possible to block the ball with your entire hand inside the goal with no goal awarded.
posted by brokkr at 11:49 AM on June 16


It seems the GLT did the job it was supposed to do. I think it would have been a very difficult call for a ref without it; might have been given, might not. Either way, controversy.
I'd like to see no extra stoppage of play, but a post-game retroactive review to rescind cards, and more importantly, award them for diving, conning the referee, simulation, etc. That would help put reduce diving, which is cheating.
posted by librosegretti at 11:53 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


There go those clowns in FIFA again. What a bunch of clowns.
posted by rhizome at 12:28 PM on June 16


My husband played and coached and my kids both play soccer and I also agree that, unfortunately, FIFA is corrupt right down to the local levels. As a fan of the game, I'd like to see host countries share more in the proceeds from The World Cup and other lesser tournaments.

All that said, as someone who is enjoying the hell out of watching some truly amazing athletes making stellar plays, can I put in a vote for Vanishing Spray as the Most Valuable New Technology Of the 2014 World Cup?
posted by misha at 12:31 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


Yeah the vanishing spray (or Magic Spray as I'm calling it because it's more fun) is definitely one of those "why did no one think of this before?" inventions.
posted by billiebee at 12:52 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Like the use of multiple balls in a match, the vanishing spray is an American innovation.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:57 PM on June 16


By the way, "Magic Spray" is already in general use: it's the stuff the physios use on injured players (along with Magic Water and the occasional Magic Sponge) to make them magically recover from the obviously career-ending injuries they sustain several times per game.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:00 PM on June 16 [8 favorites]


"Like the use of multiple balls in a match, the vanishing spray is an American innovation."
posted by Ice Cream Socialist

Really?

"Though the best thing the world has come up with is the marking foam to keep the wall from creeping up and the ball from creeping up. You can thank Liga MX in Mexico for the idea of keeping the wall in place and coming up with the foam, but MLS was the first to also mark where the free kick was to be taken from."
posted by eriko

It is a great idea though.
posted by marienbad at 1:05 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


watching some truly amazing athletes making stellar plays

is the gist of it. What makes the WC fun is watching the best players play for new teams and follow the stories they make. GLT is fine for top-level tournaments, but I suspect people would watch the Netherlands, Germany etc. even if they played on a bare field with bins instead of posts.

I'd pay double.
posted by ersatz at 1:13 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I would watch Italy play Argentina in a mud pit commentated by small children if they were given 10 free egregious fouls apiece.
posted by elizardbits at 1:45 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Really?

A less honest me would claim use of "American" to refer to the continent, but alas I must cop to the truth: I was under the impression the MLS started it. That's the last time I listen to my dad, ever.

The multiple ball thing, though, that was MLS.

Or so I've heard.

Damn dad.

posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:54 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, you were ahead of me: I didn't even know it existed until they announced it for the World Cup.

Well I have just watched Iran v Nigeria and I am still awake!
posted by marienbad at 2:07 PM on June 16


vanishing spray is an American innovation

Wikipedia says the British started tinkering with it but couldn't persuade anyone that it was a good idea, and later an Argentinian inventor developed and patented an improved version. MLS was one of the first users, though, iiuc.

(But it's pretty much just shaving foam, right? :)
posted by effbot at 2:09 PM on June 16


if a topdown goalcam is good enough for ice hockey, surely it should be good enough for football?

Well, it's "good enough" until there's some ambiguity and the call goes against your team, in which case it's a travesty. I suppose if FIFA wants to high-tech their way out of that trap, more power to them.
posted by Hoopo at 2:14 PM on June 16


I suppose if FIFA wants to high-tech their way out of that trap, more power to them.

Well, yeah, the context of my comment was more the "Have these people ever worked in software development?" a couple of steps up in that branch of the thread. A computer-assisted goalcam design would be a lot more reliable and a lot less expensive than a system consisting of 14 remote highspeed cameras, a lot of fiber, secret German algorithms, and multiple "high-performance computer stacks" in a server room.
posted by effbot at 3:01 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


"high-performance computer stacks"

That's a typo, they meant snacks.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:01 PM on June 16


Also, if we had four on-field refs, the "4th" official, and the two linesman, we'd have 7 officials watching 22 players on roughly 7000m2 of playing surface.

Adopt the blue line and you're down to five.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:24 PM on June 16


There are going to be marginal decisions that go against people's existing sense of what "whole of the ball over whole of the line" looks like, as drawn from the standard array of cameras now available for match coverage -- just as the 1966 decision reflected a way of seeing that was largely based upon watching from the stands, static cameras mounted at half-way, and low-frame-rate replays.

This was one of them. When the goalie scrambled for the ball, the freeze-frame from the standard bank of cameras (from not-quite-goal-line angles) looked inconclusive, and I'd have given the benefit of the doubt to the defending side. Video review of those angles probably would have done so, too. The goal-mounted cameras gave a different view.

And that's fine.

Hawkeye has changed how we perceive a ball going out of play in tennis, and it has had significant effects on LBW decisions in cricket by showing trajectories that umpires wouldn't have projected beforehand. This will do the same.
posted by holgate at 9:23 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Regarding other World Cup news: Congrats USA for the nice Ghana game! I loved Brooks's reaction to his goal.
posted by Anything at 12:00 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Also, via the Guardian football blog I learned that England player Phil Neville called it 'imaginary spray', which I found unreasonably funny.
posted by Anything at 12:40 AM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Ex England player Phil Neville was excoriated on social media for his commentary on the England game.

Although sometimes it was the wrong Phil Neville.

Well Done USA - the demons are exorcised!!
posted by marienbad at 7:06 AM on June 17


Well Done USA - the demons are exorcised!!

This is great because hopefully we can all go back to not hating Ghana because hating Ghana feels weird. There's no real reason for Ghana to be our nemesis, it's just a random fluke and under other circumstances, I'd be rooting for them (not against the US, but generally). I mean obviously I'm hoping Germany destroys them on Saturday, but that's just indirectly rooting for the US.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:19 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Eh, I was rooting for Ghana anyway. The US doesn't really deserve a top class men's team.
posted by malocchio at 7:36 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Don't worry, malocchio. Beating Ghana never made anyone "top class."
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:11 AM on June 17


I dunno, Luis Suarez isn't too bad.
posted by marienbad at 11:12 AM on June 17


Eh, I was rooting for Ghana anyway. The US doesn't really deserve a top class men's team.

I don't know why you are trying to start a fight.
posted by josher71 at 12:13 PM on June 17


Because canonically the only two appropriate responses to football are either unruly brawls or ripping ones shirt off and screaming with delight.
posted by elizardbits at 2:01 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


sorry i dont make the rules
posted by elizardbits at 2:02 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Do or do not; deserve's got nothing to do with it.
posted by Anything at 2:44 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Good lord, Spain is playing like our high school soccer team. On a bad day.
posted by misha at 1:28 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Spain are out!! Wow, Chile were awesome all over the park.
posted by marienbad at 1:58 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


eriko: "The second most amazing thing is how you don't put at least your 2nd best ref on the opening game. Yuichi Nishimura was just out of his depth, and that was a horrible, horrible match."
They're trying not to use refs from any of the associations of the nations playing, so for Brazil-Croatia they couldn't use South American or European refs.

Geiger probably would have done a better job. He was okay today in Chile-Spain as well.
posted by brokkr at 3:01 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


« Older Guns n' Roses, Welcome to the Jungle: guitars and ...  |  "She’s something female charac... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments