Ref Review – Carlos Vellasco Carballo – Poland 1 – 1 Greece (Euro 2012 – 08/06/2012)
In the first of our Euro 2012 Referee Reviews resident judge @SFurnivall talks us through a rather shaky performance from Spain’s Carlos Vellasco Carballo, in the opening game of the tournament between Poland and Greece.
Simon also operates his own blog, Lovely Left Foot. In my humble opinion it’s up there with the best blogs on the Interweb. Please go and have a look, guaranteed to find its way onto your favourites list.
Spain’s Carlos Vellasco Carballo took charge of the opening match of Euro 2012, and the post match focus was far more on the official from Madrid than the game. A ridiculous red card and a general overly fastidious approach to the game left a poor impression and set a very strict tone for the rest of the tournament to follow.
Four minutes earlier, an almost identical incident had passed without incident. The Greek defender won the header, slightly leaned on the Polish attacker for leverage, but nothing that doesn’t happen a thousand times every weekend during the season. In the vast majority, not even a foul is given. Perhaps it was Robert Lewandowski’s reaction, however, that convinced Vellasco Carballo to brandish a yellow card. The Pole reacted as if he had been caught in the face, when the truth was simply that Sokratis Papastathopoulos had beaten him to the header. Whatever the reason, it was barely a foul, let alone a booking, and would have severe consequences for the Greek defender.
Ridiculous red card
It will take a lot to beat Papastathopoulos’ dismissal as the worst decision of the tournament. If the first booking had been harsh, the second was laughable. A flick on by Lewandowski caught both the Greek defender and Rafal Murawski on their heels. As they turned to race for the ball, the latter slipped and then fell, with only the lightest touch from Papastathopoulos on his shoulders. Somehow Vellasco Carballo deemed this not only a foul, but worthy of a second booking and the inevitable red that followed. A truly bafflinf decision, which could have cost the Greeks dearly.
On the stroke of half time, the referee risked enraging the Greeks even further by turning down vehement claims of handball against Polish defender Damien Perquis. The French-born centre back slid in to block a cross from Sotirios Ninis, doing so successfully before brushing the ball with his elbow. Fortunately for Perquis, and correctly in my view, Vellasco Carballo deemed that the defender hadn’t known where the ball was when it touched his arm and that the contact was entirely accidental, therefore not deserving of a penalty.
After the break, Vellasco Carballo’s nit-picking style went into overdrive, giving every decision he possibly could. Some of them were letter-of-the-law correct, but could have been bypassed by good use of the advantage law, while others were just plain wrong, taking any form of contact between players as an excuse to blow his whistle. The major decisions he had to handle, however, did see him come out with some credit.
Szczesny foul and red card
In the 68th minute, with the game meandering somewhat, a ball was clipped over the top of the Polish defence for Dimitris Salpingidis to run onto. The half time substitute just beat Wojciech Szczesny to the ball, pushing it past the goalkeeper before going down when he ankle was caught. There was no doubt that it was a foul, and even Szczesny had no argument when the red card was shown. The ball may have been travelling away from goal, but there was no question in my mind that, had Szczesny not clipped him, Salpingidis would have had a shot at an empty goal, something which I think most would agree constitutes a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Ludovic Obraniak penalty shout
Ten minutes after Szczesny’s dismissal, Bordeaux midfielder Ludovic Obraniak optimistically claimed for a penalty. While chasing for the ball he went shoulder-to-shoulder with Kyriakos Papadopoulos, losing the battle and then claiming for a foul as is often the case. Vellasco Carballo rightly waved away the appeals and got on with the game.
It was disappointing that Carlos Vellasco Carballo’s performance was one that took the focus away from what was an entertaining opening game of the tournament. Although he got three ‘big calls’ correct, when the two you get wrong are so monumentally poor, people will naturally home in on them. Aside from the ineptitude of the Papastathopoulos red card, he lived up to his reputation as a very strict referee, but went too far and came close to spoiling the whole encounter.
|Type of Decision||Correct Calls||Incorrect Calls||% Correct|
|Red Cards||1||1||50%||Penalties||2||0||100%||Offsides||3||0||100%||Other||30||15||66.66%||Overall (minus offsides)||35||18||66.04%|