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Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
A catalogue of errors
Francesco Totti is unjustly sent off against South Korea
Italy were furious with the standard of refereeing


Referees and their assistants are supposed to help the game flow and ensure that order is maintained in the high-pressure environment of the World Cup.

But in Korea and Japan, the men in the middle are becoming increasingly conspicuous for all the wrong reasons...

Italy 1-2 Croatia
Referee: Graham Poll

  • Vieri's header is ruled out
    Italy striker Christian Vieri heads the ball past Stipe Pletikosa from short range to open the scoring in the match.

    But referee Graham Poll disallows the goal after his assistant flags for offside.

    Replays clearly show that Vieri was level with the last defender when the ball was crossed.

    How bad? Poor but forgivable.

  • Italy's dramatic equaliser is disallowed Deep into extra-time, and with his team trailing, Marco Materazzi's hopeful free-kick eludes everyone and nestles in the back of the net.

    The referee rules out the goal, penalising Italian striker Filippo Inzaghi for shirt pulling.

    How bad? Mystifyingly bizarre.

    Senegal 3-3 Uruguay
    Referee: Jan Wegereef

  • El Hadji Diouf cons the referee
    Uruguay know they have to win to qualify from the group stage - but a difficult task is made even harder when Khalilou Fadiga scores from the penalty spot after 19 minutes.

    Diouf's wins a penalty during his team's match against Uruguay
    Diouf's dive against Uruguay won a penalty

    The penalty is awarded after referee Jan Wegereef adjudges that El Hadji Diouf has been fouled as he tries to round Uruguay goalkeeper Fabian Carini.

    The luckless Carini is furious - and quite rightly so. Replays clearly show that he makes no contact with diving Diouf.

    How bad? Unfortunate human error.

    Sweden 1-1 Argentina
    Referee: Ali Bujsaim

  • Crespo lucky to convert a rebound
    Trailing to Sweden and their World Cup dream in tatters, Argentina receive a World Cup lifeline.

    Mattias Jonson fouls Ariel Ortega and referee Ali Bujsaim awards a penalty.

    Magnus Hedman parries Ortega's spot kick but Hernan Crespo slots home the rebound - from about seven yards.

    Bujsaim allows the goal to stand despite the fact Crespo had crept into the penalty box is almost level with Ortega as he slotted the ball home.

    How bad? Amateurish.

    Mexico 0-2 USA
    Referee: V M Pereira

  • O'Brien's handball goes unnoticed
    John O'Brien was lucky not to concede a penalty against Mexico
    O'Brien's handball was not spotted
    With Mexico trailing, USA midfielder John O'Brien clearly handles the ball in his own penalty area.

    But despite furious appeals from Mexico's players, none of the officials spot the offence.

    Mexico coach Javier Aguirre later said the error cost his team victory.

    How bad? Forgiveable, but only just.

    South Korea 2-1 Italy
    Referee: Byron Moreno

  • Totti is sent off for diving
    With the match in extra-time, Italian golden boy Francesco Totti goes down in the South Korean penalty box after a challenge from Song Chong-Gug.

    His appeals for a penalty are not only turned down but referee Byron Moreno awards Totti a second yellow card for diving, reducing Italy to 10 men.

    How bad? Pre-determined and provocative.

  • Tommasi's winner doesn't stand
    Damiano Tommasi latches on to a superbly angled through ball and slips the ball home for a golden goal winner.

    But the linesman incorrectly flags for off-side.

    Italy eventually lose on the golden goal and riots break out back home.

    How bad? Just plain wrong.

    Brazil 2-0 Belgium
    Referee: Peter Prendergast

  • Wilmots goal wiped
    Belgium striker Marc Wilmots appears to have given his team the lead after 36 minutes with a superb header.

    It is no less than Belgium deserve after an impressive opening 30 minutes.

    Marc Wilmots rises above Roque Junior during Belgium's match against Brazil
    Wilmots goal against Brazil should have stood
    But referee Peter Prendergast rules out the goal for an alleged foul on Roque Junior.

    It is a mistake, Wilmots had simply jumped higher than the Brazilian - and the referee apologises for his mistake at half-time.

    How bad? Star-struck by the yellow jerseys.

    Germany 1-0 USA
    Referee: Hugh Dallas

  • States denied a certain penalty
    USA are playing well but trailing 1-0 when, four minutes into the second half, Gregg Berhalter's flick appears to be heading goalwards.

    Torsten Frings blatantly stops the ball on the line with his hand.

    Referee Hugh Dallas waves play on and the USA crash out.

    How bad? Bottled a tough decision.

    Spain 0-0 South Korea (South Korea win 5-3 on penalties)
    Referee: Gamal Ghandour

  • Shoving accounts for Helguera's opener
    Hierro protests with the referee during Spain's match with South Korea
    Spain were fuming with the referee
    Egyptian referee disallows Helguera's goal for pushing.

    No Spanish player seems obviously guilty of the offence and Helguera is incensed.

    At the end of the game Helguera is restrained as he charges at the referee.

    How bad? Awful.

  • Morientes is denied a glorious winner
    Fernando Morientes heads home Joaquin's cross to score Spain's golden goal winner.

    But the referee's assistant Michael Ragoonath incredibly rules out the goal after he decides the ball had gone out of play before Joaquin crossed from the byeline.

    An atrocious decision that costs Spain dearly. Coach Jose Antonio Camacho brands the match 'a scandal.'

    How bad? Outrageous.

    So far we think that Morientes' disallowed golden goal for Spain against South Korea is the worst of a bad bunch of decisions by the referees and their assistants.

    But do you agree?

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