Red Card or Not: Milorad Mazic and Germany v. Portugal

Well, this was an exciting match, wasn’t it?

Milorad Mazic, the Serbian who has taken refereeing by storm the last few years, had complete control over this match from the start, physical pushing players around (mostly Portuguese players) when they got out of hand.

But, like it or not, he had a big impact on the game with two calls in particular: the penalty kick at just over 10 minutes in, and the Pepe red card.

I will say now that I disagree with ESPN, who believe the tug in the box didn’t rise to a penalty. Maybe so in other matches, but it’s more than clear now that the FIFA referees are calling things very tight in the box. The penalty was completely in character with what we’re seeing in the rest of the tournament, so I’m not even going to argue that.

What can be argued are the two red card calls:

One during the above penalty, when Mazic showed only a yellow, and one for Pepe being a dumbass.

Penalty Call on Joao Pereira (10:20)

Here’s the penalty foul on Mario Goetze. After pointing to the spot, Mazic produced a yellow card, indicating that it was a simple foul. But was it, or was it denial of goalscoring opportunity?

Take a look at this GIF by The Big Lead:


Goetze was still on his feet when he was tugged down, and the ball was clearly heading toward goal. The remaining defenders were behind Goetze.

Looks like a DOGSO to me – if you believe it was a penalty, which Mazic clearly did – and therefore should have been a red card.

Note: It was early in the game, and again, we don’t know what the referees’ directives are. We know there’s a lot of uproar about the “triple punishment” (penalty kick, red card, suspension), so I would hazard a guess that they’re going to be careful about giving PKs and red cards. I would go even further to say that might be why they’re calling things so tight in the box, to avoid that very situation. Still…

Red card or not: Red card


Sending off for Pepe (40)

This is kind of silly to even analyze, but let’s do it anyway!

Pepe was being chased by the persistent Thomas Muller, who was struck by Pepe’s flailing arm. (At first blush, it looked accidental, but this is Pepe we’re talking about.) Muller went down like he’d been shot in the face, and Pepe took exception to that. He walked over, bent way down and smacked the top of Muller’s head with his own.

Here’s a GIF from, if you haven’t seen it 1000 times already.

Pepe was gone from the rest of this game and the American one, as well.

The stupidest thing about this (and that’s a tall order, to find the stupidest thing here), is that Mazic didn’t fall for Muller’s playacting. He was right there, and you can see him start to motion for Muller to get on with it. But once Pepe decided to meet theatrics with violence, Mazic was left with no choice.

Red card or not: Red card

Let me know what you think below: Red card or not?


  • I’m surprised that Müller didn’t get a yellow for diving on the play that led up to Pepe’s head but. The fact that he decided to grab his face to get a foul in a world where there are precautions to prevent head injuries is purely disgusting. Pepe shouldn’t have used violence, but it’s not like Müller is really that innocent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure he wouldn’t have if Pepe hadn’t done what he did. Mazic was not fooled by Muller at all. Headbutt kind of negates everything, though.


    • I’m actually not sure of he really dived…from another angle you clearly see that he was hit at the upper throat. So why was he holding his face? He actually didn’t…look closer, he is first protecting his face and then holding specifically his jaw. If his teeth were shattered together by the unexpected impact, this would have hurt and it would explain why he was examine his teeth when Pepe came to him.
      In any case, Pepe’s reaction was uncalled for.


  • It was a definite penalty for me. The pull back on his arm spun him off course. Not totally convinced it was a DOGSO, he didn’t have enough control of the ball to get off a shot. The keeper was in a great position and 2 other defenders were right there so I think a yellow in that context was probably right.

    Mueller should have received a yellow for simulation, not that the ref had a chance to issue him with one if he was so minded, before Pepe dived in! Disgusting reaction from Pepe although going on his history is no surprise! I think you will find it will be at least a 2 match ban if not 3. In the normal course of a season, a red for violent conduct is a 3 match ban, I’m not sure if it gets changed for the big tournaments though.

    I’d like to see FIFA grow a pair and bring in retrospective action for cheating, diving, gamesmanship!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to say, I looked at this again, and I think the only reason Goetze wasn’t controlling the ball and those defenders were so close was that he was being tugged. Remove that tug from the equation and Goetze is clear on goal with the defenders behind him…


  • – Definitely a penalty, but missing red card for DOGSO (crucial mistake)
    – lack of penalty for Portugal (crucial mistake).
    – lack of yellow card for Cristiano Ronaldo’s sheer insolence.

    Overall, a poor showing from the Serb. Would have liked one of Messrs Webb or Eriksson for this game. Surprised if he gets another decent game after this outing…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that was a great performance by the Serb. Totally deserved red card for Pepe, and about penalty and red card for that: well Fifa and Uefa gave instructions to the refs last year to avoid giving penalty and the red card at the same, penalty is already a punishment… I dont like Webb at all, he was great 2 or 3 years ago, but now, i dont know, same goes for Eriksson, he made so many mistakes in CL…

      Liked by 1 person

  • I don’t think Muller was playacting here. Yes he was exaggerating, but that’s what everybody does. The contact to his face is definitely not enough for a foul, but it is not simulation either. Pepe should have just gotten to his face and told him to man up instead of head butting him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Muller was definitely hit even though he exaggerated. And as a referee pointed out elsewhere, simulation only occurs when there was no foul. He was fouled, so exaggerating it to bring it to the referee’s attention is not outside the Law. Personally, I prefer the Valon Behrami approach of get hacked down and just keep running, but Muller shouldn’t have been yellow carded for sure.


  • All this is relative. As Massimo Bussaca said after the match Brazil-Croatia if there is contact the referee can call it. The real issue is if referees the standard that referees set is biased towards big countries. I really doubt that those penalties would have been called in Brazil or Germany’s boxes.

    Finally I miss your analysis of the dispute between Eder and Howedes on the second half. Would it be possible to include it in the site?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was the penalty that I mentioned in my wrap-up that he should have called and didn’t, Looking at the replay, I feel the same:

      High boot is high. The only thing I can think is the Portuguese didn’t have control when the foul occurred, But the no call doesn’t make much sense…


      • Look at what happened beforehand…the ref is at the wrong place, accidentally running into the ball (which was owned by the Germans at this point) passing it to Portugal who take advantage of the gift given. The ref was most likely just happy that the ball didn’t end up in the goal, because that would have caused even worse discussions – especially since him getting in the way of the game was not a one time occurrence.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mazic being out of position is another mark against him on that one. And you’re right; he did interfere at one point. Fitness was a clear problem; he was a lot less sharp as the match wore on


          • Well, I guess the players are not the only ones having trouble with the climate. I was actually surprised that the German team hold up as good as they did…not that they really went all out during the second half, but this kind of weather is really hard on someone who is used to Middle or East European temperatures.

            Liked by 1 person

  • Pingback: Why Wasn’t Thomas Muller Carded for Diving? | PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

  • Remember a caution is not used for a simple foul, it sanctions Unsporting Behavior e.g. a tactical foul. Defender gets beat, defender pulls attacker down by shirt. No DOGSO: the direction isn’t straight on, but turning; two defenders are coming into play.
    I disagree with negative comments on Mazic’s positioning. Play came to him a couple of times, but at tense moments when he wanted to be close. Also, it seems like FIFA hes the referees running lanes instead of a strict diagonal to keep the officil close to play. It is a trade off.
    If Mazic had been less permissive with time-wasting encroachment and early dissent, he might have had an easier game.


  • I didnt like this ref at all, almeida got hip checked basically in the first half, eder got clearly taken down in the box, pepe shouldnt have gotten a red it should have been a yellow for both. I dont think pepe did anything intentional here Muller milked the shit, sorry for the language, out the whole thing, look at him whining on the ground then getting up to shit talk pepe, pepe even backed off when muller started shit talking. Whole thing was not supposed to violent just misunderstood in my opinion

    Liked by 1 person

    • Language is perfectly acceptable here. 😉

      Pepe’s problem is that he has a reputation as an all around nasty person. So, when he bends way over and pushes his head into someone else’s, you can be sure the referees will give him no quarter, misunderstood or not.


      • If you were wondering how he earned his reputation, observe him in this episode.
        Muller got fouled, hard surface (hand) to soft (face), and maybe he was being a crybaby, big deal, but there are FIFA Directives in place covering the situation. It could be reported as Serious Foul Play. The referee viewed it as a careless foul , but the ball was out of play and Pepe leaned down said something, and forcibly bumped his head

        Liked by 1 person

  • Pingback: Thoughts on the Referees: Day Seven | PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

  • Pingback: Thoughts on the Referees: Day Ten | PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

  • Some of you are confused about the soccer rules. You can use shoulder to push against another player, but you cannot raise your arm to hold back another player from running past you. Even if Pepe didn’t hit him hard, he is preventing him from getting to the ball and that’s an automatic foul in soccer. So Pepe had no reason to be upset about the ref. call. Maybe he needs to go brush up on his soccer rules. Bottom line is the ref. was right on point. Some of you should look up the soccer rules before commenting.


  • what is violent conduct

    lo… Goetz is pushing of Joao Pereira as he “gets tugged”. Pushing is allowed but “tugging” insn’t. Mr. Mazic’s bias is also evident in the Iran game as he does not call a much more serious offense against Argentina… oh, and Pepe’s violent conduct for sending off… they should make soccer “R” rated for this type of violence content. Unsporstman conduct is punishable by yellow not red… It is also curious why Pepe would not get a 3 game ban if this was such a just cause. What’s good for the goose should be good for the Gander…


  • OK, I agree with you. It’s either a penalty and a red card or no penalty. If I am the referee, I would not give the penalty as it is too soft for a red card, however it is tricky. Either way, however, you have to admit that the referee is wrong. As for the Pepe incident, Thomas Mueller has made too much of the situation, however, that is by no means an excuse for Pepe to go and stick his head in the German’s face like he did. That should be punished with a red, however, Mueller should have received a yellow card for diving 😉


    • As I’ve said before, if there’s a foul and contact (there was both) there’s no simulation. The ref had already stopped the play before Muller grabbed his face, so it would have just been a free kick if Pepe hadn’t reacted.




  • Pingback: Champions League Referees: April 14 | PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

Tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s