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World Cup field narrows amid calls for refereeing technology

sports Updated: Jun 28, 2010 16:48 IST

AFP
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South Africans rallied round the continent's sole World Cup survivor Ghana on Monday, amid growing calls for FIFA to embrace more technology after controversial goals by England and Argentina.

"Fury after England is disallowed goal," read a headline in The Citizen.

"There is a cloud hanging over (the England-Germany) match," said the newspaper, one of several to run pictures of tearful fans for locally popular England, the day after the Three Lions were sent home by Germany in a 4-1 loss.

England fans said Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda's decision to disallow a goal by Frank Lampard just before half-time had changed the course of the game.

The Chelsea midfielder's shot landed over the German goal-line after bouncing off the crossbar, and would have tied the score at 2-2 had Larrionda not waved play on.

Argentina's 3-1 win over Mexico on Sunday evening was also marred by a controversial call, as Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez was awarded a goal in the first half despite being off-side when he headed in a Lionel Messi pass.

The controversies drew cries for refereeing changes from some prominent fans in the host country.

"I don't understand why they don't use technology in the richest sport in the world," wrote England fan and national rugby side lock Victor Matfield on his Twitter web page.

Eric Tinkler, a former captain of national football side Bafana Bafana, argued against the introduction of technology, telling The Citizen that "football is a free-flowing game and I don't think it makes sense".

But he said world football governing body FIFA should use two additional referees to prevent mistakes, a system that has been tested in Europa League games.

FIFA has consistently rejected calls for using technology to help referees, making it one of the last major sports to resist the moves.

As the weekend's round-of-16 matches further narrowed the field of teams, South African fans rallied behind new favourites, after the hosts failed to clear the first round.

Ghana, the tournament's last African side, have become just the third team from the continent to reach the quarter-finals.

The Netherlands, another local favourite thanks to South Africa's Dutch colonial history, face surprise survivors Slovakia in Durban on Monday.

Monday's late match will see a South American side sent home for the first time from a tournament where the continent has excelled, as Chile seek to change their luck against five-time champions Brazil, whom they have beaten just seven times in 65 previous clashes.

Organisers have heaped praise on the tournament as the games have progressed without major incident, despite years of worries about South Africa's high crime and poor public transport.

The tournament has generated record television and internet audiences, with 52 matches televised to more than 198 countries, according to Danny Jordaan, head of the local organising committee.

"It's just an incredible success and a very positive one for our country and the continent," Jordaan said at the CNN Global Forum in Cape Town, pointing out that this will be FIFA's richest World Cup ever.

"On that score, FIFA has generated its highest revenue ever out of a World Cup -- 3.2 billion US dollars," said Jordaan.