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Copa America: The Coaches have their say

4 July 2007 15:15

The Group stage has drawn closer to completion after last night's action in Group A of the Copa America with team positions looking to prove very important as the plot to win the ultimate South American prize thickens.

However, with the knock-out stages looming, it is the positions of the officiating referees and linesmen that have come in for much criticism and increased scrutiny by all concerned.

The sub-par standards set by referees Carlos Amarillo and Mauricio Rinoso in the opening games of the tournament have not been improved upon as the tournament has progressed, perhaps even deteriorated.

Colombia's Coach Jorge Luis Pinto declared that, "the referees are not respectful, the big powers have advantages compared to the smaller ones," this following a controversial call that allowed Argentina to equalize from the spot after the underdogs had taken a 1-0 lead against the favorites.

Argentina also cried foul after they felt Brazilian referee Carlos Simon failed to send off two Colombian players for reckless challenges in the first half of the same encounter tempered by the eventual sending off of Fabian Vargas late in the game.

Bolivia criticized American Referee Baldomero Toledo for failing to have control of their encounter with Uruguay as well which contained some vicious tackles without the ultimate punishment, most notably Carlos Diogo’s careless tackle on Jamie Moreno.

Chilean coach Nelson Costa was left fuming after being the victim of a disputed penalty decision which lead to Brazil’s first goal in the clash between the two sides. Despite all of this Peru team coach Julio Cesar Uribe still found time to shrug off the influence of the referee who gifted Venezuela their first victory in Copa Competitions in over 35 years with some harsh calls including a rejected penalty appeal and a harsh Peruvian red card after 15 minutes.

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