Today the German soccer team plays Italy for a berth in the World Cup final. However, Germany will be playing without Torsten Frings. Frings was suspended after FIFA reviewed video of the disgraceful brawl that took place after Germany defeated Argentina in their quarterfinal match. On the video, Frings is shown punching Argentinian striker Julio Cruz. However, it also appears from the video that Frings threw the punch in response to being slapped by Cruz.
Regardless of Cruz’s actions, Frings should not have responded violently. However, FIFA also needs to take action that protects the interests of the game as well as its integrity. Denying Germany a crucial player in such a pivotal game seems to me to be an overly harsh punishment for Fring’s offense. In the event that Germany loses to Italy in a close game, FIFA’s decision will become the controversy of this World Cup. A more fitting punishment for Frings would have been to allow him to serve out his two game suspension after the World Cup. As it is, if I were FIFA, I would be rooting hard for a Germany win.
[Disclaimer: As you probably know I am rooting for Germany over Italy.]
Click below to view videos of the incident and let me know what you think (via The 3rd World View):
A close-up view of the Cruz slap and the Frings punch.
Another angle on the slap and punch.
Yet another perspective of the confrontation.
Finally, to give some context, here is what television viewers saw of the entire brawl. It was a disgraceful end to a beautiful game. Argentina will regret that they left the 2006 World Cup in such fashion.