Penalty or Not: Mazic and Argentina v. Iran

Update: Here’s a great new video clip that should put this to bed (thanks to reader Cicero). It’s pretty clear here that Zabaleta touched the ball very cleanly and the ball was out of reach before he ever touched Dejagah. What it was an Iranian corner, which wasn’t given. 

And to everyone who’s commenting on this, I am glad you’re here. I understand you’re passionate about the game, but please read the Ground Rules.

Early in the second half, Argentina’s Pablo Zabaleta appeared to bring down Iran’s Ashkan Dejagah in the box. The touch was light, and it probably was a 50-50 call. Zabaleta got the ball, which was gone before Dejagah tripped on the follow through.

Serbian referee Milorad Mazic decided not to call the foul.

Maybe, it was, and non-neutrals are up in arms. But let me tell you this, Dejagah was extremely lucky to stay on the pitch after his reaction, seen in the bottom video.

Calls go against you all the time. Losing your cool and physically engaging with the referee is unacceptable. Mazic is a notoriously physical ref, so he let it go, but he probably shouldn’t have.

Take a look at the replay and see what you think:

Give us your thoughts!

 

 

Featured photo: AFP

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59 comments

  • Definite penalty for me. The touch on the ball was minimal and the ball was still reachable when Dejagah was taken out.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Zabaleta initially has a half-step or more on Dejagah. Zabaleta in fact is slowing down (taking little steps) in order to strike the ball the way he wants. Dejagah speeds up and runs into Zabaleta while Zabaleta kicks the ball, causing both players to go down. No penalty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes sense. Honestly, I’m coming down with the flu and have a bit of a fever; when I first saw it, I thought Dejagah was the defender committing the foul, because PZ seemed to be controlling the ball and running ahead. I couldn’t figure out why he was so mad that he didn’t get called for a foul.

      Thankfully the cold medicine has kicked in…

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      • I agree with Steve. Contact is fair. If we started making this worthy of a penalty, might as well demand a no-contact sport.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Are you thinking the little kick to the shins there at the end?

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          • Nice angle. You can see Zabaleta preparing to play the ball, whereas the Iranian positively leaps into the spot where the Argentinian is about to be kicking. Clearly the contact is created by Dejagah’s mad jump more than anything. The awarding of the GK is curious but the ball does come off Zabaleta’s foot at a weird angle (he’s aiming for the sideline but it squibs off to his right, as Dejagah’s leap does knock the ball slightly before Zabaleta kicks it), so maybe the ref thought it deflected off of Dejagah after the initial kick.

            Liked by 1 person

  • He plays the ball, so no penality. I would be inclined to think different if he were trying to hold the the other player back physically, or if the leg was straight, but since neither is the case, I wouldn’t call it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Please remember to read the commenting ground rules. Different opinions are great, but please be respectful and not attack other commenters or make threatening remarks about the referees. I will not approve such comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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

  • Just a thought: Mazic awards the goal kick, right? So does that indicate that he didn’t even see the touch on the ball from the defender? (I think that its a pen regardless though)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, the defender was controlling the ball, so…he had to have?

      Who knows?

      At this point, there’s so much confusion and of course, Mazic only gets one look, so I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Better a no call at times than the wrong one…

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  • Please do not say anything funny about this penatly because deinately it is penalty look at French and Switzerland —> it was an stupid penalty in fact french had one free penalty which is …. According to this one it is penatly dejage were able to control the bal and stole the ball before argentina defender …
    ” Better a no call at times than the wrong one …. ” You have to see others game penalty then u are able to judge .
    Tnx to Mazic referee and shame on him that’s all .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would never say something funny about Switzerland! I love Switzerland. I’m not sure the Swiss example its the most apt.

      I’ve also watched every game of this tournament, so I can tell you with some authority I still don’t really see this as a penalty. There was a VERY similar tackle in the later German game, and that was not given either.

      If it had been a penalty, it would have be a soft one, but I could see it. I can see it not being one as well.

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  • Definite penalty for me. The touch on the ball was minimal and the ball was still reachable when Dejagah was taken out.
    Mazic shame on him and fifa referee … for others team .. it is penatly but for iran it is nothing again and again french vs switzerland that’s the best example .

    Goodluck fifa

    Liked by 1 person

    • K Mina, I’m Iranian as well but no need to be such a drama queen. It was a tough call. Seeing the replays I don’t think it’s a penalty either. You think it is, but there’s no need to go around shaming the ref and the organization because a referee didn’t side with you on a very very tough call.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Ref called goal kick, so officially no touch on the ball by the defender, striker was taken down = penalty kick.

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  • if this was an iranian defender, doing the samething on Messi, then the referee was calling it a penalty with a red card.

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  • I watched the scene with slow motion during live broadcast. that was different from your slow motion.becouse in that scene iranian midfielder first kick the ball and then zabaleta fault on him. the referee maybe love argentina and he dont like that iran win in this match.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Let’s put aside all this prejudice. Just consider the reverse situation, if it was Iran’s Mehrdad Pooladi that appeared to bring down Argentina’s Di Maria or Messi, in exactly the same manner as Zabaleta did, and Mazic decided to call the foul. Then I bet most of the above comments would say: “Yes, it was a penalty!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s football. 🙂

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      • I was a Iran’s fan. Iran played a very good game. But, this was a referee’s great assessment.
        Go ahead countries of the second and third world!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Iran has a population of almost 80 million people and all those people are extremely sad,the whole world and all the media are criticising the referee for his unfair judgement.of course that was a penalty.at the moment I actually feel sad for the referee more than anything,because You see there is a thing called “Karma”.

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          • Sweetie? It’s just a game. I doubt whatever Greater Power there is is going to punish him for not making a call in a football game.

            I get that Iran is sad. I’m sad for you.

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      • It was our right. I’m sorry for the referee

        Liked by 1 person

  • no penalty. tough call but second angle show that it was right decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  • MAANI ARYAN MAN

    hello. to the refree: you make millions of iranians cry and cry. The history of football, the history of mankind will never forget your injustice :(( neveeeeeeeeeeeeer :(( we hate you. How and why did you do that? you was very close to the scene. Shame on you. Shame oNn FIFA :((

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    • That decision was at 55′. You had 35+ at 0-0 after that point I never understood fans who focus on no calls and blame the referee wholly for not making a call (whether or not he should have). Not every call is going to go your way, and if you focus on that, you leave Lionel Messi unmarked…

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    • Jesus Christ, I’m also Iranian but really getting annoyed at you guys for making such a drama out of this. I was also very sad yesterday but it’s the nature of the game. It was a tough call, so tough that even when you look at the replays, a lot of people disagree with each other (the referee made the right call though). So if we’re having a hard time trying to decide what the right call was, imagine how tough it must’ve been for the referees. Give it a break and stop shaming FIFA and the referee and blaming everyone for being evil and against Iran. It’s really goddamn annoying.

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  • 1 -the ball twice hit his leg that caused argentina possessed the ball .FIFA shall instate a rull for these states
    2 – a very explicit penalty that was very clear. it ‘s unmanly thing unmanly unmanly

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  • Penalty is obvious and I’m wondering why some wants to emphasize otherwise. In fact, referee could not see actual contact i.e he thought that Zabalate first kicks the ball and then kicks the the foot. but we can obviously see that the fact is vice versa: Dejagah first touched the ball and then zabaleta kicked his foot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have a new video up. It’s pretty clear that Zabaleta kicked the ball first and then the foot. Should have been a corner though, not sure I understand that…

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      • there was Zabi’s touch on the ball but very minor and Dejagah could catch the ball again and get face to face with the goalkeeper (Romero) and with high possibility make the goal, so it was a penalty.

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    • Penalty is obvious…………………………………….

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  • ALLAH(GOD) knows
    it was a penalty
    and you know too…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Let’s bring down the passions here guys. Comments involving threats on the referee, suggestions that you wish something would happen to him or his family, hope that the almighty will strike him down, etc. will not get posted.

    Comments that suggest the referee was bribed with no evidence will not get posted.

    There are a lot of insightful comments, and I hate binning them because of one inappropriate sentence, but let’s keep it civilized.

    Please read the Ground Rules.

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  • Definitely it was penalty cause Zabaleta hit Dejagah’s foot and made him fall on the ground, but his action against Referee was not wise though the unfair judgement made him angry.
    Let’s say, penalty or no penalty but Iranian team was gr8 VS Argentina the great team by full of world stars, it should not be forgotten.

    I am an Iranian and we all were upset when lost the game at the last seconds, sincerely all confess that Iranian team deserve a draw for the match. Thanks to our lads!!!

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  • Why is it so difficult to comprehend that it wasnt a penalty. Put your religious, social or whatever biases aside and acknowledge that Zaba got the ball!. He got the ball people, which makes it a clear tackle.

    THe only fault here is the ref not calling a corner…

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    • A lot of people truly believe that any tackle or touch in the box is a penalty. It’s a common misconception. Even the announcers are guilty of it…

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      • You know what Jenna ?
        I’m Iranian guy but i’m going to be honest on this opinion of mine, i think ZABALETA touched the ball first too, but what kind of touch ? he couldn’t clear the ball completely and it was just a soft touch for sure, wasn’t it ? and i think Ashkan Dejagah could reaches the ball after that tackle but after that, ZABALETA makes a foul on Ashkan Dejagah with two legs inside the box and his act was a Improvidence in referees calls so it is definitely a penalty.

        Also there is some international experts like “Daily Mail” And “The Independent” had the same opinion that it was a penalty.

        And one more thing ( if he touched the ball first and the referee sees that, then why he didn’t call a corner against Argentina ? ) so i think the referee did a mistake for sure.

        Thank you.

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        • Yes, it should have at least been a corner.

          As I said in the beginning, it was a 50-50 call. Those sometimes go against you.

          And I’m going to tell you something because I’m tired of getting yelled at about this:

          Iran did not lose this game because of one non call. Even if the penalty had been given, you still would have had to make it, which is not automatic. And you still would have had to stop Lionel Messi. You had 90+ minutes to win this game and you did not. That is not the referee’s fault.

          This was hardly the worst non-call we’ve seen and it was hardly a huge disgrace. It was a 50-50 call.

          I have received literally a hundred messages on this, most of which I have not been able to post.

          I’ve been threatened, screamed at, and called names. I’ve been told Allah will strike me down.

          That’s just me. The ones I’ve had to trash about Mazic have been worse.

          People: ENOUGH.

          I’ve NEVER had to do this before, but this thread is closed for further comments.

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  • it was a penalty.

    but that’s football.

    Liked by 1 person

  • look at the minutes 1:39 to 1:45 of this video. You will see that it was a penalty. ball was not touched.

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    • I debated on posting this, because this video is very clearly edited to show what you want it to.

      In fact, if you keep watching to 1:50 they show it again and it’s clear Zabaleta did touch the ball. And there are multiple other videos that show the whole play – including those on this site – clear and uncut. This was clearly edited and cut to support your view.

      So, this is a tough one for me.

      Post a video I know is disingenuous and edited? I personally don’t think people who think this is a penalty are going to be swayed no matter how many facts are put in front of them…so I decided to do so. It’s not my job to think for you.

      But I need to be clear that this video is biased and edited to look a certain way, so neutrals should view other videos as well to make up their minds.

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  • DEFINITELY A PENALTY

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  • I think people are confused by the fact that the ball bounces off while the Argentine defender appears to be hitting it and so conclude the bounce comes from the ball hitting his foot; this seems to be case from the first vine video (Vine video) but this is a time-angle illusion. About 13 in the youtube video you clearly see that he misses the ball or makes minuscule contact having no impact on it while he clips the Iranian player completely. The way his feet is moving if he had made contact with the ball, the ball would have made a change in the direction of the motion of his foot. Look carefully and you the ball begins to bounce before the illusion of contact, look carefully and you see no or negligible contact and then he Iranian player is brought down. It is pretty obvious that it is a penalty.

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  • what we can do now?stop happenning penalties like this on future?no its will happen again,over and over,when its stop that hapen for teams like england ,thats time is the time.

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  • Jena, clearly you’re here to make a point against Iranian players. Regardless of what you think or who touched the ball first, thats a tackle to push the ball away from Iranian player which caused him to go down. Its a penalty. Most of people making comment are not even soccer players, they just know soccer. I have been a referee for 25 years and I call that an obvious penalty. It could have been a game changer for Iranian team. I was unhappy when Iran disqualified us Australian in 1998 but I must admit, they deserved winning this game with Argentina.

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    • Just to be clear, I’m here to write a blog about referees. 🙂 Other than Switzerland, I have no horse in the race and I am not biased against any team or country. I have my opinion, same as yours, and if I was here to “make a point against Iranian players” I wouldn’t have opened it to so many comments in the first place. If you have been a referee for 25 years, than I think you’d be appreciative of someone who is pro-referee and working to build a blog that’s positive toward them.

      I’d love for you to continue posting comments, but please read my ground rules.

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    • I don’t know about ‘deserve.’ We made the least number of passes in a World Cup match in the past 50 years. I also don’t recall seeing the Iranians having a ball possession for longer than 30 seconds or make more than 4 consecutive passes in a row. So at best, you can claim that we deserved to draw.

      Liked by 1 person

  • its penalty.

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  • I hate to have to do this, but due to repeated violations of commenting guidelines and threats, I am closing this thread to further comments.

    Liked by 1 person