On the way to the Fan Fest downtown Hamburg I saw a woman jogging in a turquoise Ramones T-shirt. Something was about to happen.
Tobi started singing ‘yellow — yellow — yellowred’ and I joined it. Just a made-up song for the game, early in the second half. But that described it. Four red cards, all of them double yellows, and I felt mostly ridiculous. In fact, there were a couple red cards I felt would be deserved, but they didn’t get raised. In particular Sneidjur’s retaliatory tackle against Deca well into the second half. We were figuring 10 minutes of extra time would be added on at the end for all the time lost due to cards and injury, but the ref wanted to go home and limited to 6 minutes.
Rain fell in Hamburg and they moved us from the bleachers.
It is games like this that make it clear how important a good official is. After the game Tobi said there were three teams in that match: Portugal, Netherlands, and the official. It shouldn’t ever be that way. Poor officiating can take an otherwise aggresive but amicable game and escalate it out of control. Officials in this cup have been far too quick with their whistles and their cards. Players want to play and fans hope to see them play. Last night’s game, and US v Italy as well as US v Ghana, exemplify this. The referee made very questionable decisions that directly and indirectly affect the outcome of the game.
Poor officiating is bad for all parties involved. Both teams get frustrated and this leads to a fight or flight situation, most often ending in fight (not necessarily fisticuffs). Recently I played in a coed game. It started well, the game was fun for awhile. Then the ref started blowing his whistle for now valid reason. A lot. Probably the worst-officiated game I’ve ever played in. Players got frustrated and overly aggressive, things started getting mean on both sides. I started tracking players and hitting them. This is not my usual behavior, but when you get called for a fair trap you get confused. After the game I shook his hand and said ‘thank you for taking two teams of perfectly decent people and turning them into ass holes.’ Harsh, but I was very pissed. Believe me, I almost never say anything to the ref, and never anything like that.
Back to the World Cup. Portugal managed to hold onto their early lead of 1-0 throughout the game, both teams finished with 9 men on the field. Bizarro world.
After the game we went to the Reiperbahn (side streets) for a few nice bars. Drank beer of course, then ended up at a karaokee joint. Someone stole my beer off the table while I looked at songs. Later someone bought me a beer, so life works out. I sang I Can’t Fight This Feeling. Good times. A German I’d been talking to told be I was ‘shit. No, worse than shit,’ but I don’t think I was that bad really. Took the cab home after 3am. I opened the window and the German flag flew off. The cabbie got pissed and I went back for it. good times.