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Stringent punishment for deliberate handball needed

sports Updated: Jul 06, 2010 01:16 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times

Unless there’s a throw, only the goalkeeper can use his hands in a game that’s called football, right? Wrong. Ask Luis Fabiano, Nemanja Vidic, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Harry Kewell and Luis Suarez.

Uruguay have Suarez’s hands to thank for as much as his goals against South Korea and Mexico. Had he not batted away Dominic Adiyiah’s attempt from the goalline, Ghana would have more than made up for Africa’s disastrous tournament.

Suraez’s wild celebration as Asamaoh Gyan missed the penalty kick and subsequent claim of making the save of the tournament or seeking ownership to the hand of god has opened a whole new debate about whether punishment merited the crime. One that like discussions on goalline technology is unlikely to be conclusive in the near future.

Suarez has been banned for one game and even if Uruguay doesn’t reach the final, the striker will possibly get a hero’s welcome once he returns home.

That could have been Fabiano’s fate too had Brazil stayed on. The Brazil striker used his hand twice to control a bouncing ball and make it 2-0 for Brazil against Ivory Coast in the group league. Ivory Coast coach Sven Goran Eriksson wasn’t off the mark when he said that goal came at a crucial stage.

Having worked really hard on his fitness to make it to Pim Verbeek’s squad, Kewell’s World Cup lasted less than 30 minutes. He was shown the red card for blocking Jonathan Mensah’s shot on the goalline. Gyan duly converted the penalty and Ghana drew 1-1. Ghana also benefited from Kuzmanovic’s needless handball for their first win of the 2010 finals.

Tongue in cheek, Vidic claimed to have made Serbia goalie Vladimir Stojkovic a hero as Lukas Podolski missed a penalty, something that happens rarely for Germany. “I owe you a gift. What do you want?” Vidic said. “But thinking about it now, I should be asking him for a gift. I gave him that opportunity to become a hero!” Vidic said.

A deliberate handball had Argentina’s Claudio Caniggia suspended from the 1990 final. Four years earlier, Maradona claimed the hand of god. In the playoffs to this World Cup, Thierry Henry used his hand to good effect. The malaise showed no sign of ending in the finals.