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Question Number: 28579

Character, Attitude and Control 7/6/2014

Jaewan Kim of Yardley, PA USA asks...

Dutch GK Krul's actions towards the Costa Rican penalty takers are generating some backlashes. I thought his actions were clearly unsporting, and he should have been cautioned by the ref. Since he was not stopped by the referee, he continued.
What do the panelist think?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jaewan
At the Pro level players engage in all sort of gamesmanship and mind games. This happens in all sports. Sometimes the actions can go too far and sometimes have the opposite effect. I recall a player in our national sport telling of how he was 'goaded' by an opponent early in a final about a bad miss and using that in a positive way he produced a man of the match performance. Had he been 'ignored' he may have talked himself into a poor performance.
In the Krul situation the referee was present and I believe all that was said was that he (Krul) knew the direction of the penalties from studying previous footage and used the word Vamos which can mean 'let's go',. 'come on' or 'go away'. He then walked in the opposite direction of where he thought the kick was going each time. Is it worthy of a card? I don't believe any expletives were used and the kicks were not unduly delayed so I would say no.
Even before the substitution was made Krul had been involved in an elaborate warm up on the touchline which 'surprised' the Costa Rican management and technical staff. That substitution threw doubt straight away into the minds of the Costa Ricans of their own abilities and that this must be great penalty kick saver better than first-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Some players have a 'natural' side that they want to go to on a PK when under pressure. When nervous and told by the GK that you know that side then it places added doubt in the kicker's mind.
Would I allow it at underage or youth games probably not and I would step in to move the goalkeeper back before any confrontation. I also instruct both GKs before the kicks as to what I want which includes not coming forward out of the goal area. The challenge is that young player tend to mimic the Pros and we may see more of this in the future.

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Answer provided by Referee richard dawson

Intimidation and gamesmanship has its place as part of the psychology of competition. There are limits of course and the referee has to be aware of what is said as much as how it is said and whether the actions push the boundary of fair play too far. From what I could determine nothing worthy of a card or caution. Free speech is still allowed and claiming to know where the pk shooter is going to shoot is certainly tame to some of things I have seen or heard in the past lol

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