General [ edit ]
There was much controversy over the refereeing in the tournament; FIFA officials have even criticised the quality of refereeing in the tournament. [ 1 ] One effect of the officiating controversies was to open discussion of the eligibity of referees from certain less-established footballing countries in the competition. [ 2 ] Another was the introduction of the requirement of the referee and assistants speaking the same language, to avoid possible communication errors. This was done by requiring match officials to come from the same country, [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] as well as additionally needing English proficiency. [ 7 ] [ 8 ]
In total Italy had at least 3 goals disallowed in the finals, 2 against Croatia, and one against South Korea.
The progress of South Korea into the later stages was the subject of much debate. Questionable decisions in the Italy-South Korea match resulted in 400,000 email complaints. [ 9 ] The Spain-South Korea match featured two controversially disallowed Spanish goals, though FIFA dismissed the incidents as human error. [ 9 ]
FIFA President Blatter while strongly condemПing the calibre of certain refereeing, [ 9 ] denied any conspiracy. [ 20 ] Despite the criticisms, Blatter dismissed also the possibility of technology aids being introduced for the time being. [ 21 ]
Turkey vs Brazil (group stage) [ edit ]
Rivaldo was criticized for simulation that got a Turkish player sent off. While the ball was kicked at Rivaldo's thighs, he went down clutching his face. When asked about his behaviour in this incident, he replied: «But what could I do? He was the violent one.» Rivaldo was later fined by FIFA.
England vs Argentina [ edit ]
In the England-Argentina group stage game, Michael Owen is believed to have dived over Pocchettino's leg to win the penalty that produced the only goal. [ 22 ]
South Korea vs Portugal [ edit ]
The two yellows that led to the second Portuguese red card were seen to be questionable.
Italy vs South Korea [ edit ]
The Italians had a a goal disallowed — wrongly — for offside, as well as Francesco Totti sent off after receiving a second yellow card for allegedly diving in the penalty area. However, replays suggested contact between Totti and his opponent, [ 9 ] and the decision to red-card Totti was later described as wrong by a FIFA official. [ 27 ]
Moreno was subsequently struck off the FIFA approved referee list. [ 19 ]
Spain vs South Korea [ edit ]
Spain had two goals disallowed in this match; the first for a foul and the whistle was blown for a goal kick before the 2nd one. These were questionable as no foul was apparently committed and a linesman wrongly ruled the ball had crossed the goal line. [ 18 ]
Several Spanish players confronted referee Gamal Ghandour of Egypt after the match. Ivan Helguera referred to the match's result as «a robbery» [ 9 ] and led to Spanish press brandishing the officials «thieves of dreams».
USA vs Germany [ edit ]
A German defender handled the ball on the goal line. but no goal or penalty was given.
Discipline [ edit ]
In the Cameroun vs Germany match, 14 yellow cards were shown, leading to 2 red cards (one per side). Another match in which 2 red cards were shown was that between Portugal and South Korea. Unlike the other match, this was notable for both the cards going to the same team (Portugal) although the second was disputed by some (see above ).
Play-acting continued to be a problem in this World Cup, with Rivaldo being punished by FIFA and other incidents disputed by fans and commentators.
Others [ edit ]
Senegalese Fadiga was involved in a shoplifting incident on the eve of the competition.
The scorer of the Korean golden goal againast Italy, Ahn, was controversially dismissed by his Italian club for his comments after the match. He was told by Perugia's president, Luciano Gaucci. that he would never play for the club again, [ 28 ] only for Gaucci to have a change of mind [ 29 ] the following day.
Riots broke out in Russia after their 1-0 loss to Japan. A mob took the streets and started burПing Japanese cars; two people were killed.
Cameroun were nearly banned due to their kit, which was thought to resemble track suits. [ 30 ] [ 31 ]