Penalty or Not: Haimoudi and Netherlands v. Australia

The ball did hit Daryl Janmaat of Netherlands on the hand in the box. No question.

So, if you’re going by the letter of the law, Algerian Djamel Haimoudi might be considered right to give the penalty.

But I have two questions about the call, the second more serious than the first.

1.) Did it rise to the level of a penalty?
Janmaat’s arm was away from his side, true, but he was pulling it behind him. He had little to no reaction time when the ball rocketed toward his hand. And he definitely did not appear to be attempting to control the ball.

This, to me, was harsh.

2.) Was it consistent?
But my second concern is even more serious. We saw three similar – or worse – handballs in the box in the Switzerland v. Ecuador game alone, all by Ecuador. None were called.

In yesterday’s 1-1 draw, Russia’s equalizer was set up by a handball that was arguably worse than Janmaat’s.

None of those were called, or even acknowledged.

It brings up a lack of consistency about the World Cup referees. If Haimoudi was right, and maybe he was, then the others should have been called as well. If those weren’t penalties, then Janmaat’s probably wasn’t either.

This consistency issue is the hardest thing for football fans to swallow; if the referees are consistent, it’s easier to accept a call like this, even when it goes against you.

Featured photo: Bleacher Report


  • Consistence of referring in each game? That utopic…I settle for a ref being consistent over the duration of a game. This had a few odd calls, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hand away from the body. And his team gained an advantage. Foul. A softish penalty, I admit.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I was very disappointed in Haimoudi’s call. I see referees at the grassroots make this call because they are under pressure from player appeals. This was an easy one to wave away. In no way was it deliberate like 90% of the other hand-contact events that occur. Whether his team gained an advantage or not is irrelevant.

    Liked by 1 person

  • i always learned if the player does not try to hit the ball it should not be called. Janmaat made zero movement in his arm before being hit, it stayed very consistent to his body in position in angle. So I was wondering how did you see it as in trying to control the ball with his arm. Cause if he did try it would have been a 100% penalty. But I just don’t see any action from Janmaat with his arm, and he can’t make his arm vanish? I know I have seen worse cases where the ball was stopped by a arm in front of the goal but because the defender did not move at all the ref did not give a penalty.

    I am finding the penalty count this Worldcup going way to high and to easy penalties being given. Teams will adjust expect more and more diving till a game is won on penalties alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you asking me? I think I had an error in an earlier version, which I have since corrected. I DID NOT think he controlled the ball.


      • Yeah, i read the earlier version, then posted and saw adapted version, I was actually starting to doubt myself. But to me this WorldCup shows the need for a referee behind the videoscreen to assist the main referee. Would eliminate a lot of acting up and I do not believe it would slow the game down, if you see how fast they can produce a replay.


        • I’m going to do a “Why video replay is a fairy tale” story. 🙂 Ive seen so many shots where you show them over and over in different angles and you then ask ten reasonable people and they disagree 50-50%. It would still fall to the ref’s judgment, and yes…it would take time.

          The only way I see video replay being used effectively would be on offside calls. That camera technology is pretty much already there with the GLT, and it takes virtually no time to freeze frame and draw the line. The 4O could do that pretty quickly I think.

          Anything else really is unrealistic, in my opinion.


          • How about things missed by the ref or unable to see, like faking being hit in the face. There are players who have develop techniques to pull the opponents arm to the face, or to do a perfect fall without being touched.

            For offside it would be perfect, for show and/or eye candy for the ladies you can keep the line refs to communicate.

            Sure there will always be debatable calls but the video ref could advice the main ref, but there are plenty moments where the video ref would save the ref from mistakes. If we take away a portion of the obvious mistakes where you can rightly blame the ref and leave only the calls where people would have a 50/50 feeling about the game would be less debate about the referee mistakes but more about the game.


            • I think it might be good for that, but you still run into a lot of issues where – and I’ve seen this plenty – where something looks very clear on one camera shot, then looks as clear the opposite way on another. Too much uncertainty. And too disruptive. When would you decide to use it or not? To be fair, you’d have to use it on every play.

              I’ve seen the suggestion that each team have a certain number of challenges. Have you seen an American football game? Those challenges take FOREVER for the reasons above – no one can decide definitively. Football fans were up in arms because Bjorn Kuipers added five minutes to the CL Final, for goodness sake. Do you think they’d be willing to do 15-20 extra minutes? Because that’s what it’d be.

              What I DO support are stronger and broader retroactive punishments. If, after the fact, the video shows a clear dive, why can’t the governing body punish that?


              • Totally agree on that part, they do it sometimes for when a guy hits someone and the refs miss it, why not for the otherway. If you would be banned for a large amount of matches for a real dive people would think twice.

                With regard to the video, no it should not be used on each play and only the video ref should have access and advice the main ref, no discussion time or people coming with a video from different angle. The video ref watches the replay from 2 or so angles and advices based on what he sees. And even then it can be up to the main referee to follow it or not. It would be maybe easier for players to accept the referee decision that maybe they saw it wrong also.

                Liked by 1 person

                • This is why I say it’s a fantasy. Do you really think clubs and fans will be happy with the “video ref” (I hate that phrase) making the call in a vacuum than they are with the ref? As long as he makes the call for their team, they will. It’s just not realistic, sorry.

                  It’s also academic. NONE of the governing bodies or FAs have any stomach for it because of the disruption.


  • As a USSF referee, here are the factors that affect a handling foul:- was the contact ball to hand or hand to ball?- was the hand/arm in a normal playing position or did the defender try to make himself “bigger” by the use of his hand/arm?- did the defender have time to avoid ball to hand contact?There is a reason that the ball to hand contact in previous matches was not whistled: they did not meet the above criteria…and neither did the incident in the Australia-Netherlands match. At the distance involved, it was impossible for the defender to prevent ball to hand contact. The question then becomes: was the hand/arm in a normal playing position? That is all that can be debated. As the commentators indicated, the answer appeared to be yes. VERDICT: Not handling; should not have been a PK.

    Liked by 1 person

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  • Hmm, whether or not it was a penalty, it seems to me the type of decision that routinely gets given against perceived weaker nations against stronger ones at the world cup. For example, if it had been given to the Netherlands as part of a 3-0 or 4-0 victory would it be a talking point?


    • I think it would, considering how they’ve been called so far. Are you saying Russia should have been called for handball, since they were arguably the stronger team?


      • No. I should probably say that I am irregular watcher of football at beast. Australian and its probably the 4th highest profile style of football here, excluding world cups, and hardly hold myself out as expert. But I think I’m trying to make two points.

        Whether or not the referee was right he was probably confident in his decision, as marginal calls tend to go to the more heavily favoured team. Secondly, rightly or wrongly it seems that the closeness of the game has given it a higher profile as the other examples listed above don’t seem have generated similar threads (I’ve seen a few pages where this issue has been discussed)?

        In terms of whether the decision is right or wrong, even without understanding the technicalities of the handball rule I’d agree with some of the above comments that to be consistent (not just in one game but across all games) is sometimes as important, if not more so, than being right. Personally, I have more of an issue with some of the penalties being won on dives than this one.


        • I’ve seen this suggestion that the “marginal calls tend to go to the more heavily favoured team” before and I don’t get what you’re trying to say. This foul was AGAINST the Netherlands, who were definitely heavily favoured.

          I also don’t pull out every incident for deep analysis. (There are other referee sites that do that.) That may be why this generated more talk, at least on here.


  • A THOUGHT: If you receive a penalty for that incident with Janmaat, any good striker can inflict a penalty anytime…. That opens a whole new ball game 😦


  • For me it’s a penalty ,Look how far out it is from his body:

    every footballer knows to bring her arms her body when you’re in the penalty area when the other is shooting or a center, and most of players put their hands behind them in this kind of action .

    So pénalty his stopped with his arm far from his body a dangerous action for australia it’s a pénalty


    • I actually debated whether to allow this photo because because photos – quite flatly – lie. You don’t see the speed of the play or what he was doing with his arm or the way the ball was hit. You don’t see the intent and you don’t see whether he was controlling the ball. Putting up a photo like this is disingenuous at best, and I doubt anything will convince you.

      That said, video of the incident is trickling out, and we see one here at :40. As you can see, it looks much different than from your still photograph.

      You should read the descriptions of the referees on this board – like Will and Alex – if you really want to know why it’s not a penalty…


  • a player in this position should defend with his hand behind him , it’s clearly a penalty !


  • Your description is not very neutral, you encourage readers to vote no, so not very fair as vote!

    you should have put this photo of the action of the hand in question and let the people vote

    the player for me in this position must defend hands behind him, most of defenders in the world defend like this, he blocked the attacker before hand, he had ample time to put his hands behind him and defend as do most defenders in this situation !

    as he stopped in a dangerous cross which could be a décésive passes for another Australian striker!

    for me indisputable penalty


    • The photo you are showing isn’t accurate. It’s a split second snapshot in a play. Here’s the actual video at :40.

      He did not have “ample time to put his hands behind him”. Relying on a photo and not seeing the game yourself or reviewing video is a bad way to make such “indisputable” determinations.

      I stand by my decision: it was a harsh penalty and more important, it is not consistent with how we’ve seen this called by other World Cup referees.

      (Also, you should know that I don’t encourage voters to vote no. I state my piece and ask if they agree. The poll automatically puts the most-used answer – in this case ‘no’ – up top. I did not have it in that order.)


    • The only question you should ask yourself: is it a deliberate handball or not? If you think this is an indisputable penalty you should read the rules of the game again, because according to the laws of football it is not a penalty because it was not deliberate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think this is a case in which you could ask six refs and three would say “I would have made the same decision” and three would say “it’s too harsh”. I would have an issue with it if I had gotten the impression that the ref had favoured one team through the whole game, but I actually thought that he was fairly lenient with some of the Dutch players overall, so I give him the benefit of the doubt and decide to believe that he would have made the same call no matter which team would have gotten the advantage.


  • Its always the Referee’s call. A hand ball in the D is an automatic Penalty. Harsh? Yes. Wrongfully Given? No.


    • “A handball in the D is an automatic penalty” Sorry. You’re just wrong. Read the Laws and there are some referees here who give a good explanation.


      • A handball should not be awarded if a player is ruled to have handled the ball accidentally. This refers to a player either attempting to protect himself from injury, for example by placing the hands in front of the face and then being hit by the ball, or a player being hit on the arm by the ball without moving towards the ball and without being able to move out of the way. An example might be a snap shot hitting the arm of a defender at point-blank range. However, if a player’s arm is in an unnatural position, for example outstretched or above their head, then a foul should be awarded whether accidental or not.


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