We wuz robbed: Ref's blown call steals World Cup win from U.S.

The good news? It’s soccer, so maybe one in 10 of us actually cares. The bad news? This really was highway robbery, made even more painful by the fact that the U.S. had rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie Slovenia in the second half. The worst news? Er, the U.S. had to rally from a two-goal deficit to tie Slovenia in the second half. And before you ask the inevitable follow-up question, here you go. Wonder no longer.

You can watch all four goals plus the blown call at ESPN, but if it’s only the latter you’re interested in, Sports Grid has got you covered below. CBS explains the ref’s logic, such as it was:

[R]eferee Koman Coulibaly called a foul on defender Carlos Bocanegra, who had his arms around Slovenia substitute Jejc Pecnik and was preventing him from jumping for the ball.

However, Coulibaly missed two American players being held and grabbed in different parts of the penalty area by Slovenian players…

Referees are under orders from FIFA to clamp down on the plague of fouls in the penalty area, but it’s proving virtually impossible…

Most referees are unwilling to penalize the defending team, preferring to reject goals rather than give them.

In other words, they’re the opposite of refs in American sports, who prefer not to call debatable fouls during crunch time of a big game lest they be seen as having affected the outcome. And needless to say, no doubt to the delight of “purists,” there’s no instant replay available to challenge a bad call. In fact, according to U.S. forward Landon Donovan, the ref refused even to say who the foul was on after blowing the whistle. Good work, FIFA.

To the one in 10 wondering if this means we’re eliminated: No, but the next match against Algeria is an absolute must-win. And even then, much will depend on what happens with England vs. Slovenia. Verdict: I blame Obama.