Soccer in need of goal-line technology | Soccer | CBC Sports

SoccerSoccer in need of goal-line technology

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | 09:31 PM

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John Terry of England clears an effort from Marko Devic of Ukraine off the line on Tuesday in Euro Cup action. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) John Terry of England clears an effort from Marko Devic of Ukraine off the line on Tuesday in Euro Cup action. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Incident after incident at major tournaments have made it clear that there is a need for goal-line technology in soccer, and on Tuesday, Ukraine found that out the hard way against England.
Cela n'arrivera pas.
It won't happen -- UEFA president Michel Platini's words when asked if at Euro 2012 they would see a similar incident of goal-line controversy, the kind that robbed England at the World Cup in 2010.

Most will remember the look of disbelief on Frank Lampard's face in 2010 as his superb strike ricocheted off the crossbar, into the net and spun back out into waiting arms of the German goalkeeper.

Most will remember it because it was the same look everyone watching the game that day had as the play, that would have drawn England level at 2-2, carried on and eventually saw the Three Lions eliminated.  

And it has been the same look most have worn over the past decade as incident after incident at major tournaments have made it clear that there is a need for goal-line technology in soccer.

And it was the same look Ukraine as a whole wore Tuesday when England defender John Terry cleared a dribbling ball away from the line - a play that, upon closer inspection, showed it was actually in the net.

The disallowed goal, which would have drawn the Euro 2012 host nation level with England at 1-1, came moments before Andriy Shevchenko, who had provided two dramatic second-half goals against Sweden in the opener, was slated to come on.

It also came at a time when England, which most will agree was outplayed for much of the match, was pinned deep in its own half and failed to register much of an attack beyond the occasional jaunt down the field.  

Those who would underplay the timing and significance of the blown call are the same who would have cried out for goal line technology two years ago. And the same who were espousing justice had been done for England on this day, stating that football karma had intervened following this latest farce. They are the same who would point to an uncalled offside that should have preceded the play and prevented the whole drama all together.

But neither a blown offside call, the travesty in 2010, football justice, nor spooky karma have anything to do with the reality that a goal that should have counted was once again missed. This despite an official planted beside each net; this, despite the ready availability of numerous technology platforms that could eliminate any of the guesswork; and this despite all of Platini's best assurances.

Human element

Whether it has been Platini at UEFA, or president Sepp Blatter at FIFA, the old guards of the game have been painfully slow to admit that there is a need for goal-line technology in today's modern game.

The best answer they can come up with is that they don't want to remove the human element from the game - an antiquated man vs. machine debate if you will.  

But it's that man made ghost, left from calls unmade - with their multiple possible outcomes -- that haunt football. The real tragedy Tuesday is not what could have been for the people of Ukraine but all the other storylines that will be diminished because of one blown call.

Wayne Rooney made a dramatic return to the England lineup after serving a two-game suspension to score the game's only goal. It was one of perhaps three or four he could have had on the day. He was the purpose they've been lacking up front and will be the force they need when they face Italy on Sunday in their quarter-final matchup.

In the other game in Group D action, France's youth movement, which had such a strong start to Euro 2012 that it had some wondering if they were a dark horse, stumbled severely.

They fell to Sweden 2-0 in a game where they looked barely interested and as a result, will receive the tougher draw against Spain in their quarter-final.

Also lost will be what has to be considered the goal of the tournament. Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his moment of magic at Euro, as he converted a difficult cross into a, wait for it, Ibracadabra moment for Sweden. His off-balance half volley was a thing of beauty.

And it will all be pretty much forgotten as the headlines and storylines following Group D action will all focus on what could have been.

So, to Mr. Platini and UEFA: Il est arrivé. Translation: It has happened.

And, if you'll allow me to mix my metaphors a little, it will continue to happen, until you decide give up the ghost.

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