News / Europe

Argentina, Germany Reach World Cup Quarterfinals Amid Controversy

Argentina and Germany have reached the quarterfinals at the World Cup football tournament in South Africa.  But, there were controversial calls by officials in both qualifying matches.

In what will surely be remembered as one of the worst calls in World Cup history, England was denied a goal against Germany on a ball that crossed the goal line by nearly a meter.

It came late in the second half of Sunday's match in Bloemfontain, and the goal would have tied the match with Germany at 2-all.  Instead, the momentum went the Germans' way and they went on to win, 4-1.

Neither the referee nor the linesman saw the ball struck by Frank Lampard cross the goal line.  After it had hit under crossbar and went over the line, it bounced out.  Germany's goalkeeper immediately put the ball back in play.  And even though video replays showed it was a goal, the referee allowed the run of play to continue.

Angry England fan Trish Malone says the decision changed the complexion of the match.

"It was just so unbelievably; I mean we are not talking close here," she said.  "It was half a mile within the goal post!  The guys [i.e., officials] were asleep!  I cannot believe that nobody decided that this was actually a goal!  So it was very, very, very frustrating as an English person."

The 4-1 loss was England's worst ever at a World Cup.

Controversy also marred the day's second game here in Johannesburg in which Argentina defeated Mexico, 3-1.

Argentina's Carlos Tevez was offsides when he headed in the opening goal in the 26th minute.  Surrounded by angry Mexican players, the referee and his linesmen discussed the play at length.  But the goal was allowed to stand.

So Argentina moves on to the quarterfinals where it will play Germany.

Two more quarterfinalists will be decided on Monday.  A surprising Slovakia, the second place team from Group F behind Paraguay, will take on the Netherlands, which topped Group E by winning all three of its first round matches.

Dutch forward Robin Van Persie says they are not yet at their best.

"Our spirit is looking good," he said.  "We can still improve because it's not there yet.  We need to improve here and there.  We scored five goals in three games.  This is okay, but we want to score more and we want to play better as a team."

The late second round match on Monday will be played here in Johannesburg between two South American teams - Chile and five-time champion Brazil.   

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