World Cup Referees Have Discretion Over Calling Dangerous Plays

When it comes to potentially dangerous plays, expect World Cup officials to allow teams to play on, Jerry Hinnen said

Ferrall On The Bench
November 01, 2018 - 12:45 pm
Mandzukic and Vida

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CBS Sports soccer insider Jerry Hinnen joined Ferrall on the Bench to discuss the World Cup, including Croatia 2-1 come-from-behind win against England in the semifinals Wednesday.

Ferrall immediately asked about Mario Mandžukić’s goal, saying that England’s defense fell asleep at the wheel.

"If you give [Mandžukić] half a chance, he's going to bury it,” Hinnen said. “England made a couple of mistakes on that play. Kyle Walker really didn't make the clearance he needed to make. . . . You can see from time to time throughout this tournament he's made a couple mistakes and hasn't paid for them. He paid for them [against Croatia].

“If you're England, one of the disappointments that day is that Harry Kane . . . had the chance to maybe put the game away in the first half with a great chance,” Hinnen continued. “He botched it. Mandžukić had the same chance in extra time and he buried it. And that's the difference in the game."

Ferrall also asked Hinnen about Ivan Perišić’s goal. Many England fans felt it was a high kick.

"That's one where it's a little bit of totally ref discretion,” He explained. “They don't have necessarily a firm, written law about things like handballs-- dangerous play is the technical term for it—where sometimes you see a guy raise his foot up near where somebody else is trying to head the ball and it gets called for dangerous play.

“We'll see it where a guy goes up to kick it in a crowd, and it looks really awesome and technically maybe it's dangerous play, and the ref lets them play on,” Hinnen continued. “I think this was kind of the same thing. [He] made a spectacular play to get his foot on the ball – and not just get his foot on it, but put it underneath [Jordan] Pickford in the goal. . . . We want to encourage . . . awesome plays like that one. Frankly, I think the ref made the right decision."

Still, some fans felt the refs allowed Croatia to play with too much physicality.

"It was a physical game,” Hinnen allowed. “But at the same time, man, it's the World Cup semifinal and you are going to have to deal with some of this. Croatia got away with some of these plays. . . . I didn't feel like it detracted too much from the overall spectacle of the matchup, but at the same time, especially with the plays from [Dejan] Lovren in the first half, I think dirty isn't going too far, put it that way."

Ferrall then asked Hinnen the big question: Who wins the World Cup on Sunday?

“France,” he said. “I love Croatia. I wish I could tell you Croatia. The best unit in this World Cup has been France's defense. I don't think they give up a goal. . . . Croatia is great. I don't think they've got enough to break that French defense down."