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09th Apr 2015

FIFA farce: England women’s team to replay final seconds of Euro qualifier

Norwegian blue...


UEFA have announced a landmark decision this morning by ordering a European Championship qualifier to be replayed…from the 95th minute.

England Women’s team lost 2-1 to Norway on Saturday in a controversial encounter. Leah Williamson’s injury time penalty was disallowed by the refereee due to players rushing into the box.

Rather than order a retake of the spot kick, the ref awarded a free kick to Norway instead. A 2-1 result stood until England appealed and UEFA intervened.

Now the game will restart at 9.45pm tonight – from the penalty spot – for the final 18 seconds of injury time.

Bizarrely – as if things weren’t bizarre enough – both teams are in action in Belfast for their final group games this evening, before the 18-second replay takes place.

England play Switzerland, whilst Norway take on Northern Ireland. As England, Norway and the Swiss are all tied on three points, the controversial spot kick could yet prove crucial. A point for England or three for Norway could decide who qualified automatically in top spot.

The ruling risks setting a precedent though. After all, it isn’t the only gaffe that has cost a team dearly on the big stage.

Here’s a list of some other games that may need revisiting in light of the farcical decision:

1. England v Germany (2010)
The World Cup round of 16 might have gone so differently had Frank Lampard’s goal-that-never-was stood.
Appeal: Restart the game at 2-2 in the first half.
How it would change: It wouldn’t. Ozil would still make Barry look like a bloody clown and that Spain team would still win the World Cup.

2. England v Argentina (1986)
The H**d of G*d goal.
Appeal: Restart the game in the 51st minute with a free kick to England and a yellow card to Maradona.
How it would change: He’d probably still score the goal of the century four minutes later and England would still be trailing but at least Diego wouldn’t take away from his moment of magic by bragging about his deliberate cheating handball goal.

3. England v West Germany (1966)
If Frank Lampard’s was a mile over the line, this was a mile in the other direction.
Appeal: Play extra time again from the 101st minute.
How it would change: Sometimes, the stars align. Geoff Hurst was meant to go on and become the unlikely hero of that novel success and you’d like to think, at Wembley, in extra time, everything on the line and there for the first time, the crowd would’ve got England through anyway.

4. Aston Villa v Manchester United (2010)
The big one. The one we’ve all been waiting for. The League Cup final. The red card that never was for Nemanja Vidic when he upended Agbonlahor in the box.
Appeal: Replay the game with Villa one up and United down to 10 men.
How it would change: 86 minutes to go but counter attacking with the lead against 10 men who had to come out? Villa would’ve fancied it. It might’ve kept Martin O’Neill on and persuaded Lerner to give a bigger push in finances and kept some huge names at the club. But, Phil Dowd, you ruined it all. Now look at us. Just look at us, Phil.

5. Croatia v Australia (2006)
Graham Poll gate. Australia needed just a draw to qualify and Josip Simunic needed just three yellow cards to get sent off.
Appeal: Australia wouldn’t appeal this, it still worked out. But Croatia might ask for a replay with 10 men just for another chance.
How it would change: Graham Poll wouldn’t be anywhere near a World Cup final anyway, that’s for sure, so it’s alright.

6. England v Portugal (2006)
Ronaldo and that God-forsaken wink. How could anyone ever forgive him?
Appeal: Ban Ronaldo for life for protesting with the referee. Replay the game.
How it would change: Presumably Wayne Rooney would still be sent off for stamping on another man’s groin.

7. France v Republic of Ireland
The hand of frog.
Appeal: Restart with a free kick to Ireland in the 112th minute.
How it would change: Maybe they go on to win on penalties. Maybe. It just means their Euro 2012 embarrassment would’ve come two years earlier. On a global stage.

8. Liverpool v Chelsea (2005)
Luis Garcia’s ghost goal wasn’t over the line but it was the only goal in two legs that decided a place in the final at Istanbul.
Appeal: Replay the game at Anfield, all square going into second leg.
How would it change: Liverpool would just appeal Gallas’ handball that never amounted to a penalty for them in the first leg. Mourinho would still be whinging.