LAURA LYNCH: Egypt isn't the only nation whose pride was wounded on the soccer field yesterday. Francis Pride also took a hit, even though its team did qualify for the World Cup. The World's resident soccer geek, William Troop, is here to explain.
WILLIAM TROOP: Hey, I'm proud to be a soccer geek. Anyway, it's how the French qualified for the World Cup that's stinging the national ego and remember, the World Cup is a huge deal for countries. It happens only every four years. So with that in mind, think of this. France eliminated Ireland yesterday from the World Cup by virtue of a single goal and that goal came right after a French player controlled the ball with his hand.
LYNCH: The ultimate no-no.
TROOP: That's right. As the French would say, that's a faux pas? Everyone watching the game on TV saw that illegal hand ball and not even the French TV commentators could ignore it. Ooh, la la indeed.
LYNCH: That's pretty clear.
TROOP: The only problem is the referee on the field didn't see it and the goal counted and so France gets to go to the World Cup, not Ireland.
LYNCH: And that's it? No further debate?
TROOP: No, no, the Irish are furious. They are demanding a rematch, which unfortunately for them, the soccer powers are not inclined to concede. They issued a statement today saying that the sacred rules of the game of soccer don't allow that. The ruling on the field by the referee during the game stands, period.
LYNCH: I mean there's a certain sense to that, right? How could you have a game if you don't stand by what the referee calls?
TROOP: Well that's the way it's been in soccer forever and this incident with the hand ball revives a very old debate which is how can we avoid such glaring missed calls by referees to determine the outcome of key games? Other sports have been there and done that. American football for example, came up with a couple of changes. For example, they have more referees on the field now in the NFL, just so they can literally have more eyes on the game.
LYNCH: Well thank you, William. So much for the luck of the Irish. That was The World's William Troop with his ideas on how to fix refereeing mistakes on the soccer field. What's your take? Especially you soccer geeks out there? Let us know by joining our discussion at TheWorld.org.