One of the ABC commentators during the final match really got on my nerves. He was very vocal about his opinions about what was or wasn't a foul, what was or wasn't offsides, up in his cushy booth. Jesus. Show a little respect for the refs, man! And with that little offsides call you were whining about, unless your cameras are at the right angle, not even instant replay is going to help you make the correct call. It looked right to me.
I really think FIFA's experiment in chaining its refs to the literal interpretation of the rulebook is going to really bite them in the ass. I suppose it was meant to make regulation more consistent and therefore better respected. But it's had the opposite effect. With so many calls that were inappropriate for the situation, if not wrong, now *everyone* feels they have the right to second-guess the ref.
As a referee, you MUST have the ability to be flexible, to let the game play on. Otherwise you needlessly break up the pace of the game, prevent players from being a little tough even when that's the style of both teams, and just come off as a tightass. The players want to play. The ref's job is to make that happen in a reasonably safe manner. The ideal is for the ref to be virtually unnoticed--rather than the determining factor of so many games.
You stay classy, Zidane. I applauded when they gave him the card and the boot. What a way to end your retiring game...
I didn't really care who won the match--I was just watching for good soccer. But Zidane's senseless stunt in overtime--leaving his team a man down, making a vicious final impression for his career, and just generally being the guy us refs hate--made me an Italy fan for the day. Maybe the Italian dude deserved a beating--I don't know what he said. But not on my field.