Case Study: Advantage Leads to World Cup Match Win

While the advantage recognized and played by Referee Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), was fairly straightforward, it is remarkable for a couple of reasons:

  • It was late in the match, when bodies and minds are tired and mental lapses more common; Irmatov wasn’t distracted by these factors, a testament to the referee’s training regimen
  • Given that the foul was 100% tactical, it would’ve been even more tempting to stop play and issue a caution

Despite these factors, the referee remained focused and allowed play to continue, which led to the winning goal.  Irmatov and his team surely enjoyed a celebratory drink afterwards in recognition of a job well done.

16 responses to “Case Study: Advantage Leads to World Cup Match Win”

  1. He should’ve cautioned the player, even though the advantage resulted in a goal.

    He disallowed a quick-restart for a similar tactical foul earlier in the game, allowing the opposing team to get 11 players behind the ball.


  2. No caution issued. He certainly COULD have… but if cards are meant as a game/player management tool; he was correct not to bother. The guilty player was sufficiently punished by the result of the advantage played. Given the time in the match and all other considerations; a caution would have been kind of a dick-move.


  3. A tactical foul like that is normally sanctioned for breaking up a promising attack. The attack was not broken up so I personally have no problem with the lack of caution here. Had he awarded the free kick, the caution would have almost been obligatory in my opinion.


  4. After the advantage was allowed, it took 3 touches more before the goal was scored which is why we always teach the risks of applying advantage when the ball is in the defending 3rd or middle 3rd. The Referee used his experience and vision of the players positions and the obvious fact that the player fouled did not go down and still had control of the ball moving in a positive direction. At the World Cup level I would expect this from any of the officials there. It is a good example of all of this but an expected one. The player who fouled should have been cautioned. If the goal was scored on one touch and was much closer I would have no problem accepting no caution. However, the goal took an additional 3 touches and was about 60 yards or more away from the foul with no guarantee of a goal. It was a risk by the Referee to allow advantage with luck being part of the equation.


  5. Both the Team AND the Player were “Cautioned” so to speak when they were scored upon and lost the match,….soccer Gods know!


  6. Best call by a ref I’ve ever seen. The reason for a caution here is egotistical refereeing. A ref is not a judge and jury.


  7. Speaking of the World Cup-yesterday’s UK & Uruguay match had Suarez scoring from an offside position in the 84 minute or so. He was not called offside as the ball went off a defender’s poor header. I thought that in this situation it would only be considered not offside if it was a deliberate pass back to a player or goalie. Gerard’s header was poor but not deliberate. I am not questioning the call just trying to better understand the rule should it come up in a match. Thanks Roger


  8. I would never have shown a caution after that play. The goal was sufficient punishment, therefore I’d keep my cards away. Pulling a caution would have been kicking them while they were already knocked out. Your cards are a means to control the game and man manage, would cautioning the player have done more good or harm?


  9. Sanchez was not offside when the keeper punted the ball so Gerard’s header poor or not has no impact. What was not truly clear was if AFTER the punt the team mate of Suarez headed the ball when Suarez was offside just ahead of Gerard. A deliberate play by the way does not have to be a good one or a poor one just a deliberate one!


  10. But remember that this is still a foul (hence the advantage) and a HOLDING for the tactical purpose of pulling the opponent away from the ball is a cautionable offense.


  11. Now that I think about it – I think the foul itself it worthy of a yellow for its reckless nature. Meaning that referee could have shown a yellow afterward without even worrying if it had been a tactical foul.


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