5 Terrible Refereeing Decisions That Changed World Cup Games 

4. Graham Poll: Australia v Croatia, 2006

If you’re a UK resident and you watch BT Sport, you’ll no doubt enjoy the expert analysis they get from actual referees during complex or uncertain officiating decisions. Unless of course they’re using Graham Poll that day, because the natural reaction to anything he says is “yes mate, but you once booked the same player 3 times”.

I’ll set the scene, it’s the final game of group G and both sides can advance if the result goes their way. It’s a tight affair, a nervy affair, a spiky game of small margins that you desperately need a referee to keep control of. Enter Graham Poll…

Viduka bears down on goal and is wrestled to the ground by Simunic, but no penalty. Croatian defender Tomas deliberately handles the ball in the box, but Australia get a corner. Harry Kewell’s equaliser, which ultimately knocked Croatia out was, glaringly, offside.

And finally, the icing on the cake… Josip Simunic is booked for a foul in the 61st minute, and again in the 90th but is somehow not sent off. Then, after the final whistle, he approaches Poll to give him an earful and is given a third yellow and a red for dissent. English refs, best in the world.

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WhatCulture's Managing Editor and Chief Reporter | Previously seen in Vice, Esquire, FourFourTwo, Sabotage Times, Loaded, The Set Pieces, and Mundial Magazine