Women’s World Cup: The most blatant handball penalty not given


Watch Bruna of Equatorial Guinea casually pick up a ball in full view of the world when it is in play. Incredibly, the referee Gyoengyi Gall from Hungary and her referee crew miss it altogether or chose to ignore it completely.
This incident took place in a Group D match against Australia in the 15th minute when Collette McCallum sends in a cross which Leena Khamis flicks onto the upright and as the ball rebounds back into play, Bruna picks it up and carries it in her hand for a couple of seconds before releasing it. The Australians appeal and then turn incredulous at Gall’s decision to overlook this clear penalty.
Khamis was not declared offside and there was no other indication that the ball was anything but live.
A similar event unfolded in the U20 World Cup on the same ground in a match between South Korea and Germany when Alexander Popp’s shot hits the crossbar and balloons towards the sideline where it is caught by a South Korean defender clearly while on the pitch. The Germans appeal and Peruvian referee Sylvia Reyes consults with her linesman and then awards a penalty which was the right decision.
Thierry Henry cleverly camouflaged his hand from the referee while providing the assist that doomed Ireland from participating in last year’s World Cup. Last month was 25th anniversary of Maradona’s unforgettable hand of god goal against England in the 1986 World Cup. In both instances the referee was bamboozled into believing its legitimacy. But what do you do when incompetence or ignorance is in full view and you do not need TV replay to catch it?
Alicia Ferguson, a former Australian international reacts to Gall’s bewildering decision to not confer with her linesman, “What was going on?”. Australia managed to get past Equatorial Guinea, 3-2 which somewhat mitigates this absolutely bizarre and shocking non-call but any other result would have been catastrophic to their chances of advancing to the quarterfinals. What gall, Gyoengyi!

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