FIFA World Cup 2006


We will start our covering of the FIFA World Cup with the quarter-finals. This is because we thought the group phase and the first knock-out round were too unbalanced to be treated in our manner.
Consider, for instance, the game Italy vs. Australia, where Italy won by a penalty many say was unfair. If we hadn't granted it, then according to our rules Australia would have qualified because it was denied the chance to defend itself in extra-time. But, considering the difference in value, we think Italy more likely would have pressed further in extra-time and in the end probably would have obtained the victory. Of course nobody can say this for sure. (Which, we agree, underscores once more the inherent uncertainty of our approach alltogether. But we cannot do more than we can do.)
Having to judge such situations individually on the other hand seems much too subjective. Therefore, we decided it's best to avoid them alltogether and start our corrections with the quarter-finals.

However, we will briefly list here the most notable referee mistakes of the group stage and the first knock-out round.
Obviously, the first one that comes to mind is the Guiness Book performance of Graham Poll, who showed the yellow card 3 times to Simunic in the game Australia - Croatia. He also missed at least one penalty shot, probably 2, in favor of Australia, which alltogether means he heavily favoured the croatians. Luckily for him, it didn't matter too much because in the end Australia went through.
In the first knock-out round, besides the situation mentioned above with the game Italy - Australia, the only other noteworthy game was France vs. Spain. We think Spain should have had another penalty at the score of 1 - 1, at begin of the second half, for a foul. Also we are pretty sure that the free kick that led to the second french goal shouldn't have been given, it was a simulation by Henry (which also brought Puyol a yellow card). Having said this, it looks likely that the french would have still managed to turn the game in their favour a second time, their game was clearly better than that of Spain.
In Italy - Australia, to be fair we also have to say that many think Materazzi was too easily sent off, thus giving the australians numerical superiority for almost an entire half.

Semi-finals and final



Quarter-finals, June 30 and July 1, 2006


Brazil - France 1 - 1, officially 0 - 1

Brazil was denied a penalty at the end of the second half, for a foul. We are not sure who was fouled, we think it was Adriano, and neither who fouled. However, the foul was clear.
Henry's goal was scored from an off-side position, Henry himself was on-side but there were 2 other frenchmen who were off-side and definitely influenced the play of Dida and the brazilian defence. On the other hand, the french should also have had a penalty for Ronaldo's handball, which the referee saw but incorrectly (and rather hilariously, considering he had himself positioned the brazilian wall a few seconds before) ruled outside the penalty area.


Germany - Argentina 2 - 1, officially 1 - 1

Germany was denied a penalty in the second half, Ballack was clearly pulled by his hand.


Italy - Ukraine 2 - 0, officially 3 - 0

The second italian goal was from a clear off-side position.


Portugal - England 0 - 0

In our view, Rooney was rather easily dismissed. Not that he didn't deserve it, but maybe a yellow card would have been more appropriate. However, it was not a referee mistake.

Qualified teams:

Brazil (officially France)





Semi-finals, July 4 - 5, 2006


Germany - Italy 1 - 0 (officially 0 - 2)

Germany was denied a penalty for a foul at Podolsky at the end of the second half. The referee saw it but incorrectly decided it was outside the penalty area. The 2 italian goals, however magnificent, unfortunately don't count because the extra-time shouldn't have been played.


Portugal - Brazil (officially France) 1 - 1 (officially 0 - 1)

Portugal was denied a penalty for a foul at Postiga at the end of the second half.

Qualified teams:

Germany (officially Italy)
Portugal (officially France)



Final, July 9, 2006


Note: The Germany - Portugal game which is the final on FairFootball was in fact played, but not as the tournament's final but for the 3rd place. We could have just taken this actual game and considered it as the big final. Weird as it may seem, we thought it's better to do it as usual, letting the 2 teams be represented by the teams that incorrectly qualified against them. This is because the actual Germany - Portugal game was completely different from what would have been had it been played as the final. As it was, Germany was almost the winner from the start, while a final against Portugal would have been, in our opinion, much more even.
For the same reason we chose not to include the 3rd place game at all in our story, it's of little relevance anyway and it would have given an unfair advantage to Italy who would have been represented by Germany.


Portugal (officially France) - Germany (officially Italy) 3 - 0 (officially 1 - 1, Italy wins the title at penalties)

Materazzi fouled the french defender before scoring Italy's goal, at replay one can clearly see his hand on his opponent's shoulder.
Ribery was denied a penalty near the end of the first half; the referee saw the incident but decided the other way around. Malouda also was fouled in the box at begin of the second half.
We've heard many comments that the penalty from which Zidane scored the french goal shouldn't have been given; we think it was right.

In our view this performance by Elizondo was probably the worst of the tournament, or at least of the eliminatory phase. It was however a difficult game.

Final ranking:

Looks like the FairFootball winner of the World Cup 2006, which is also our first corrected winner of a major tournament, is Portugal.
Unfortunately, we have to conclude that this time the refereeing heavily influenced the winner, as well as the entire top ranking. There's no way to know what Germany and Brazil in fact would have done had they been able to play for themselves.

winner: Portugal (officially Italy)

finalist: Germany (officially France)
semi-finalists: Brazil, Italy (officially Germany, Portugal)
quarter-finalists: Argentina, Ukraine, England, France (oficially Brazil)

Some heated debates about the validity of our approach and about our style of refereeing at this World Cup can be found here:
Google groups: World Cup 2006 refereeing
Google groups: Is Italy win tainted ?