Valentin Ivanov Worse Than Graham Poll?

16 Yellows & 4 Reds – Was It Really That Bad?

After a dull England v Ecuador game the Holland v Portugal promised so much. But referee Valentin Ivanov had other ideas.After Graham Poll managed to book Croatian defender Josip Simunic three times before actually sending him off against Australia midweek.

But tonight saw 16 yellow cards and 4 yellows! Apparently a new record in the World Cup. I’m one for breaking records.

Portugal won the game 1-0 with a smart goal from Maniche.

Good work from the Brazilian-born playmaker Deco on the right wing saw him pick out Pauleta on the edge of the box. The PSG striker flicked the ball into the oncoming Maniche, who managed to move away from a Dutch defender and shoot into the corner in one movement.

A really good goal!

But by this time Valentin Ivanov had really stamped his authority on the game with Maniche, Van Bommel and Costinha already in the book.

And then just before half time Costinha lost the plot and got a second yellow for deliberate handball. Even before this it was clear with this referee that it would not end 11 versus 11 – although I though if anyone was going to be sent off it would be Van Bommel who was as dirty as ever.

Petit came on for striker Pauleta at half time and got booked within 30 seconds of the restart. No surprise there then.

But Scolari showed his tactical expertise and played Maniche and Petit just ahead of the defense with the skillful Deco behind Figo and Simao. The system was designed to stifle the Dutch and it worked as Holland only had one or two decent half chances to equalise.

On 49 minutes The Netherlands came as close as they would all night as Philip Cocu smashed the underside of the bar from only 5 yards out. How costly that miss would prove at the end of the night.

Then another mêlée of yellow card ensued until the 73rd minute, when the referee lost control not for the first time as Portugal played the ball out so that a player could receive treatment. But the Dutch refused to return the ball to Portugal and Deco hacked down Heitinga in retaliation. Deco got sent off only 5 minutes later for apparently wasting time. This didn’t matter as Ivanov added about 7 minutes injury time!

Portugal managed to hold on to their slender lead and progressed into the Quarter Finals against England.

As the Holland v Portugal match turned into one of the farces of the tournament, England fans everywhere were smiling as influential Portugese players Deco and Costinha would be suspended and a further 5 are now on yellow cards. The skillful Cristiano Ronaldo also picked up a nasty unjury and could be out of next weeks showdown.

It might have been a crazy game but England will not have a better chance of getting into the Semi-Finals as the Portugese ended tonights game with only 9 men and played most of the 90 minutes a man less than Holland. They’re not exactly in top shape going into England’s match!

Although they showed glimpses of brilliance, Holland just didn’t perform and Portugal deserved to go through.

Arsenal’s representative Robin van Persie struggled in a Dutch team that couldn’t get their game going and found it hard to break down a determined Portugese side.

However he almost scored another wonder goal on 37 minutes when he tore apart Nuno Valente on the right hand side and clipped the ball towards the far post. Unluckily for Robin the ball swerved away from goal and out for a goal kick.

There were several other interesting sub-plots in the game, including how Arjen Robben escaped punishment for several blatant dives, why didn’t Van Nistelrooy even make an appearance and why didn’t Figo get sent off for clearly head-butting Van Bommel?

Red cards: Gio Van Bronckhorst, Khalid Boulahrouz, Deco & Costinha.

Yellow cards: Ricardo, Valente, Maniche, Figo, Petit, Mathijsen, Sneijder & Van Bommel.


10 thoughts on “Valentin Ivanov Worse Than Graham Poll?

  1. I thought the ref did ok, it’s about time persistent cheating was clamped down on – the game is called football, not diveball, shirtpull, or foulball. A few of his decisions were questionable towards the end, but out of the 16 yellows Ivanov dished out, only 2 or 3 were questionable.

    It’s about time players acted more responsibly and stopped making referees lives a nightmare.

  2. I agree with james, it’s not the referee’s fault that he gave out 16 yellows, or the 4 reds, thought the first dutch red might have been harsh. Costinha’s red was deserved, as was van bronkhorst’s, deco should have recieved a straight red for the lunge on Hetinga, but got what he deserved for the annoying habit of players picking up the ball and walking away with it, to just throw it back in the air, what use does it make, i hate it, and i’m glad the ref had the guts to call him on it, though i thought the dutch player should’ve gotten a yellow as well, for pushing Deco.

    A ref that brandishes 16 yellows might have had a better game than one that’s shown none. Atleast he was consistent, and the players should be smart enough to adjust to that. He’s calling the game very tightly and showing yellow cards for things that other ref’s might not, well then, maybe it’s a good idea not to play goalie on the halfway line, not to lunge at someone from behind or elbow a player as he’s trying to get past you.

    If you’re looking at a bad ref, look no further than yesterday’s referee for argentina Vs Mexico, a clear red for heinze, only to recieve a yellow, persistent and hard fouling by the argie’s towards the end, with nothing shown, only for the mexican players to be shown yellows for tackle’s that most people’s 90 year old grandparents got jump straight back up from.

    Inconsistent Refereeing is much more annoying and unfair than a referee that’s too harsh or too lenient.

  3. Mishari and James you are both right. Maybe he got a bit confused at the end of the match , maybe he didnt show some red cards when he should have. But im just scared to think what would have happend on the pitch if there was one of those referees we saw in the other games . Bloodshed? More Injuries? Wouldnt be suprised if a regular fight broke out… Respect for the ref.

  4. The referee did not at any time during the game have control of the match and he was well over the top with the 16 yellow cards – I don’t think any game is that dirty!

    Of course I don’t like players getting injured, etc but the best thing to do would have been from an early stage to give offending players a strict talking to so that they knew anything after that would be punished.

    But instead of doing that he was far too eager to branish a card – instead of talking to the players. That’s part of the reason there were fights during the game, because the referee talk to the players.

    Poor refereeing in my opinion.

  5. The ref got it spot on. And if they ALL did that, we’d see a lot less of this girly diving, feigning injury, shirt pulling, time wasting and other cheating that we mainly see, let’s face it, from the latin sides.

    The ref (unlike Poll) even made a note of who he’d booked and checked it before he waved the red.

    We need more refs like that to stop the cheats!

    I hope he referees Argentina Germany.


  6. However one of the reasons the game got so ugly was the ref’s failure to clearly explain what he wanted the dutch to do after a drop ball. That is what lead to Deco’s horror tackle (straight red deserved I agree) and tilted a tense game into an petulant, angry and violent one.

  7. Ah well, Deco’s out for the England game! I’ll get over it… 🙂

    I think people hate the inconsistency of refereeing – Mishari is spot on when he says Heinze should have got a red card against Mexico. He made no attempt whatsoever to get the ball and scythed down the Mexican forward!

    When you see a game like the Mexico/Argentina one and the Holland/Portugal one they were about the same in terms of tackles, petulance, etc but the card count was nothing but!

  8. FIFA’s refs are a shocking bunch of clowns….As a Gunner, I ain’t a big fan of Robben, but Valente threw a boot high into his chest IN THE AREA, and there was nary a card nor a penalty…the Russian psycho thought this was his showpiece….today, another fiasco with the Spanish cock giving away a really soft penalty to that diver Grosso. It seems to me that this is the same old shit with FIFA “setting” things up nicely for the usual suspects, eg Germany, Italy, Brazil, etc…..I’ll have a wager that the ref will try to destroy both France and Spain in the same manner as the Portugal-Holland game, so that FIFA’s pet Brazil will glide into the semis…..some things never change.

  9. Luis Figo is and always has been one of the biggest cheaters in the game. He has been doing it persistently firstly for Barcelona and then Real Madrid. I hope he retires soon. He was a good player but will never be remembered as a great because of his cheating.


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