Well, if you’re a critic of soccer officiating/want goal line technology to help determine goals/want replay in general, this sequence was basically porn. England was nursing a 1-0 lead over Ukraine in Group D action, trying to advance to the knockout stage of Euro 2012, when Ukraine got a long pass downfield. They got a step on England’s defense. They took a shot. England’s goalie got a hand on it, but it wasn’t enough – the ball bounced up over his head, behind him, and headed into the net.
England tried frantically to clear the ball before it crossed the line, but it was too late – the ball was clearly across the line. Only thing was, it wasn’t called that way:
So England’s lead was preserved – and it was preserved all the way up until the end. England won, 1-0, and advanced out of the group. Ukrainian fans were undoubtedly upset – that was a clearly blown call. The goal shouldn’t have even been close to not counting.
In fact, the only thing that should make Ukraine and its supporters feel any better was that… the goal shouldn’t have been in a position to count in the first place, because Ukraine was offside (uncalled, of course) when that long downfield pass was made. Yes, in this case, two wrongs actually did (sort of) make a right, since the blown call on the goal counting made up for the blown offside no-call.
But this was no way to arrive at the correct result. If you can watch the clip above and conclude that soccer doesn’t need some sort of replay technology, we’ve got nothing left, because nothing will convince you. Talk about the “human element” all you want – the game’s ultimately about the players, so what the players do ought to be judged as accurately as possible. In the sequence above, it wasn’t – twice over. By luck, it happened to turn out right this time. Other times, it won’t, and you’ll hear the same calls for replay. And maybe, eventually, it’ll actually happen.