Germany lost for the first time since 1958 in an international tournament against France, but for the fourth time in six semifinals since 2006. When push comes to shove, the German machine is more exposed than it appears. Rizzoli whistled as most of the officials did in this tournament and also how he directed the famouls final two years ago - lenient, generous and rather invisible.
If you lose, you see it differently...
Rizzoli did nothing wrong, but in comparison to the WC final his style rather favoured France this time. I'll come to the penalty in the moment, but in Germany there are voices complaining about an Italien referee in this encounter after the Low team had eliminated Italy in the QF. To hold the ref reponsible, is a bit cheap in a game where two crucial and unforced errors by Germany decided the fate of this semifinal. What I can say, is that I understand where the criticism comes from - e.g. Rizzoli seemed to apply different standards for different situations.
As people reading more reviews from me, know, I am not a fan of the "new" Handball rule. In the old days, the definition was a "deliberate" contact which was much clearer than this. Now, it can be anything when the hand or the arm is in an akward position when the ball comes. A rule has to be clear - this is far from that and creates more controversy than necessary. Now everyone wants a pen on every contact and refs in doubt rather give soft pens than to lose vital points by observers. In my mind, Rizzoli's decision was correct in application of the rule, but was it in line with the rest of his lenient tactical approach? I'd rather say "No", and the yellow card for that was out of proportion. But Germany also has to rethink their game conceding two unforced penalties in crucial matches at this Euro.
Cards and calls
My doubts: 1. Kroos was tripped in half one on entry into the box, but no freekick was given here - not sure if this was wise. 2. No card for shirt-pulling against Evra in half one, but for Ozil for dissent after the penalty. The rest: France got away with a lot of physical play which helped them to withstand the German pressure. But then: France was hot and wanted to win, Germany were lame in movement up front and lacked finishing quality - so 2:0 is a fair result but it still hurts. Rizzoli reigned with grace and glory - head shaking at times, pointing and smiling and leaving no questions when he thought a card was necessary. Less like Collina, but more like Rosetti. On the whole: A great ref.