Preface – If you don’t already know, I am an Italy supporter (as well as Portugal) however, you might find my opinion in this post rather surprising and contradictory. I am, in fact a referee first and when it comes down to FIFA Law vs. National Pride…Law always wins!
After the embarrassment of Italy’s departure from this World Cup, I had some discussions with colleagues and my parents (my father to be exact) about the severity of Marchisio’s tackle that ultimately got him sent off in their last match against Uruguay. The discussions revolved around how everyone thought it was a soft dismissal and Marchisio should have only got a caution for his actions. Everyone blamed Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez for causing Italy to play short for 2/3 of the match, and then not dismissing Suarez for his cannibalism against Giorgio Chiellini. However, after watching the replays over 100 times and looking at still shots of the incident (and my father is going to kill me for this), I agree with the Mexican official and I think that Rodrigues was CORRECT in sending off Marchisio.
Every single Italian fan will say that Marchisio did not intend to foul Egidio Arevalo, and that his actions were only a result of “natural motion” to scoop up the ball and keep possession. They also say that is should have been a caution (yellow card) at the very most. But, take a look at where Marchisio’s foot starts, where he makes contact with Arevalo, and where the ball is located at every instance.
Marchisio’s foot is quite high, and he actually starts with his foot above Arevalo’s knee. I can understand this “natural motion” if the ball was in the air or bouncing and Marchisio was trying to get it under control however, this is not the case at all. The ball remains on the ground, at Marchisio’s feet. There is no need for his foot to be that high unless he’s looking to do some damage. Also, his foot makes contact first with Arevalo’s knee, with his studs showing, and then scrapes down the shin as it gets caught in the Argentinian’s stockings. Don’t believe me? Here’s a clip of the incident both in real time, and in slow motion.
This, my friends, is excessive force and constitutes Serious Foul Play and Mexican Referee Marco Rodriguez had no choice but to send off and show a red card. FIFA Laws of the Game are clear and there is no other option in this scenario. “Using excessive force means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent. A player who uses excessive force must be sent off” (FIFA LOTG – Guidelines, pp. 117) Again, there is no reason for Marchisio to have his boot so high (completely unnecessary) with the ball at his feet. FIFA also go further to lay out what constitutes Serious Foul Play (SFP) on page 126;
“- A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality
against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.
– A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as
serious foul play.
– Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the
front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force
and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”
Did Marchisio challenge for the ball in a manner that exceeded the necessary use of force? YES
Did Marchisio endanger the safety of his opponent, or could he have caused an injury with his foot being that high, and his studs showing? YES
Did he use excessive force when challenging an opponent for the ball while it was in play? YES
CONCLUSION – Marchisio is guilty of SFP and Rodriguez was correct to show him a red card and send him off!
That’s how I saw it! If you disagree, I welcome your thoughts, input and opinions in the comments below.
The Third Blind Mouse
PS…After Portugal gets kicked out on Thursday, I guess I’ll become an honorary Brazilian for a couple of weeks. 😛