blunders by REFS jolt fifa

CONTROVERSIES and South American success dominated the eight games of the round of 16 at the World Cup.

All five South American teams competing at the finals qualified for the round of 16 and four made it to the quarterfinals as Brazil defeated Chile 3-0 in an all-South America duel.

With Argentina (3-1 winners against Mexico), Uruguay (2-1 against South Korea) and Paraguay (5-3 on penalties against Japan), the Brazilians have ensured South America's best performance at the World Cup.

In theory, the semifinals could be all South American as they don't run into each other in the quarters where Uruguay meet Ghana, Brazil the Dutch, Argentina face Germany and Paraguay take on Spain.

But the South American dominance was not the only highlight of the round of 16 in South Africa, as high-profile refereeing blunders grabbed their share of the headlines.

In Sunday's game between Germany and England, 1966 champions England were denied a clear goal after Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda ruled that a Frank Lampard shot did not cross the line, despite replays showing otherwise.

Mexico had reason to feel aggrieved as Carlos Tevez was clearly offside when he headed Argentina ahead against the Central American side in their 3-1 victory.

Italian assistant referee Stefano Ayroldi did not raise his flag for offside and the goal was allowed to stand.

The two errors might have cost Mexico and England a place in the quarterfinals, but they did prompt a quick U-turn from Fifa.

While their head of communications, Nicolas Maingot had insisted a day after the incidents that they would not look at the use of technology for the next two years, Fifa president Sepp Blatter attempted to do some damage control a day later.

"It would be absurd not to consider the option. We have to have further discussions on this topic," he said.

"After what we have seen, it would be a nonsense not to open the issue of technology again at this business meeting."

Blatter went further and apologised to England and Mexico. - Sapa