Samurai Yujiro, Japan Broadcasting.net football correspondent
A blatant farce I must say.
Oops, I’m not talking about Harley Davidson’s “rebel with a cause” against Trump. It’s FIFA referee chairman Pierluigi Collina’s ridiculously rigged and biased decision I’m referring to.
Japan will play Belgium within about 36 hours from now, on a knockout stage of FIFA World Cup 2018. And the Italian man who in a way resembles E.T has made an utterly most unthinking choice possible.
That’s right, to appoint a Senegalese referee for this crucial match. He must be truly out of his mind.
What’s worse not only the main referee Malang Diedhou, but also Djibril Camara and El Hadji Samba as the 2nd and 3rd referee all from Senegal.
Undoubtedly this is pouring oil on trouble waters.
Let me explain why.
The Samurai Blue just played to win under the FIFA rules
Just 3 days ago, Japan played Poland in the group stage match – while Senegal battled against the Colombians. While Japan and Senegal needed a mere draw to advance to the knockout stage of round 16, it was the Poles that shook the goal net first to lead 1-0 in the early second half.
At this point, Senegal and Colombia were to advance to round 16. The Samurai Blue needed to score a goal back to avoid elimination. So Japan’s coach Nishino sent in attacker Inui onto the field. However about fifteen minutes or so later, Colombia also scored with a brilliant header which then consequently leveled Japan and Senegal in every statistical point.
I’m sure those of you following the World Cup know the whole story, but to make the long story short the Samurai Blue no longer needed an equalizer due to the fact they were ahead of Senegal by FIFA’s new rule of “Fair play points” – meaning the number of yellow and red cards given by the referee.
Japan had 4, while the rival had 6.
That being said, the odds were against the Senegalese as all Japan had to do was to “lose fair and square 1-0 against the Poles” to qualify for the best 16.
So Nishino clandestinely gave orders to his boys to just keep the ball for the remaining 10 minutes or so, by introducing defender Hasebe onto the field.
The crowd BOOed, of course. They have every right and reason to do so. But at the same time Nishino’s move was more than risky – since had Senegal scored an equalizer 400 km away, then Japan were to be eliminated.
It was a gamble, and Nishino prevailed. Nothing less, nothing more.
And to those of you who blame Japan’s tactics as unfair or cowardly or a pussy, let me emphatically refute your claims by saying this.
Don’t cry over spilled milk. Period.
Because the Samurai Blue did not cheat or use hands like Maradona did in 1986, but instead they humbly abide by the great FIFA rules. Let me make one thing crystal clear once again.
Japan could have lost.
No different from a game of Poker, Nishino took the risks, and won.
Nevertheless, the pundits put a total blame on Japan’s side as sneaky or cheesy which to my understanding your one sided antipathy simply don’t make sense. Well, then fine, sneaky, absolutely. The Samurai Blue was indeed sneaky fellas, and in a remarkable way. And let me also tell you this; I saw Colombia’s “El Tigre”(Tiger) Falcao’s NHK interview before this FIFA World Cup 2018, and was quite impressed when he mumbled “Soccer is about deceiving the opponent, especially in the penalty area”.
That’s the irrefutable truth ladies and gentlemen.
And it is indeed not an overstatement to say that the Samurai Blue did not deceive anybody in the ‘contentious game’ against Poland. It was a pure math. It was the Samurai’s bloodthirsty aspiration to win the game that proved decisive.
Therefore, there isn’t a slightest reason for the Japanese squad to feel guilty or apologize. Instead they should be proud for being the only Asian representative to advance to the knockout stage.
Senegal’s handsome 42 year old manager Cisse is truly a good sport and I like him. He’s funny and entertaining too. And I humbly hope that nor he or any other Senegalese fans do not bear a grudge because Japan advanced to round 16 instead of them.
But still, I must admit that FIFA’s Collina’s decision to appoint 3 Senegalese referees for the crucial match between the Samurai Blue and the Belgians is nothing more than an inexplicable parody.
As a matter of fact, such a choice should have been a last resort.
When there are dozens of FIFA referees registered from over 200 countries, why did it have to be Senegal? If FIFA was and is indisputably a “FAIR” organization, it should reject the Italian E.T’s biased choice and act accordingly. Because having 3 decisive referees from a country where some may be thinking “Japan cheated its way to round 16 at the cost of Senegal” is extremely UNFAIR, to my knowledge. I mean, it’s like bringing in an Argentine referee right after 1982 Falklands war – in a game between the Brits and the Argentines.
It’s that ridiculous.
It’s synonymous for Belgium having 14 men on the field.
So FIFA, please reconsider the E.T’s unbelievably shallow minded hypocritical choice if you actually value fairness.
As the old saying goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.
Thank you very much.