So incensed are some Estonian fans with referee Viktor Kassai, the man who officiated in Tallinn, that they’ve set up a Dislike Viktor Kassai page on Facebook. It now has over 30,000 likes. Is that an oxymoron?
This video, which just looks like highlights of the game to me, is supposed to expose the treachery which handed Ireland a 4-0 win and an all but certain place in Euro 2012. The reasoning being that without the referee’s disgustingly biased involvement, the Estonian players wouldn’t have committed so many clumsy and unnecessary fouls or made poor passes in front of their own back four or have been limited to little more than a couple of decent shots from distance or generally been a little naive and inexperienced at this level.
Estonia had spells where they dominated possession and looked a very decent side and 4-0 was probably a little harsh but their qualifying campaign results tell the story of a team which is capable of good football but is unable to produce their best on a consistent basis. They are an emerging and promising football nation but at this time their players don’t have the same level of experience at international or club level as the Irish players. They’ll undoubtedly improve because of this experience but the fact is that their defeat was caused by an accumulation of incidents, most of which were of their own doing. Did the referee force Andrei Stepanov to clatter into Keane after he’d already been given a yellow card? Regardless of how harsh the first yellow was, Stepanov has to take the blame for this one. If you’re on a yellow card you have to take more care with your challenges, that’s the players’ responsibility.
The referee certainly didn’t do Estonia many favours but they didn’t do themselves too many either. After the Henry hand-ball furore we can’t exactly tell them to stop moaning about it but to equate that one crucial, clear cut incident with the heady mixture of borderline, arguable and completely spurious incidents highlighted in this video just doesn’t add up for me. What do you think?