A CONTROVERSIAL final complete with a penalty shoot- out and four red cards, including two to coaches, marred the finish of the Joeys Mini World Cup in Inverell yesterday.
Competition favourites and international visitors Frankfurt FC eventually won the U17s final over Coffs Harbour (Australia) but not before it was almost penalised out of the game.
The internationals also found themselves two players and two coaches down after a flurry of red cards from the referee.
Excellent defence allowed the Germans to overcome the odds and hold Coffs Harbour to a nil-all draw, even through extra-time, before they stepped up to win 5-4 on penalties.
It was the first time the Frankfurt school has sent a side to the Cup and, if their reaction towards the referee after the game is anything to go by, it could be their last.
Destination Tamworth Business and Events Manager Gavin Flanagan was a spectator and tweeted some of his own reactions.
“Germany win pens 5-4! Then intimidate ref who contributed to a disgraceful sporting spectacle. Such a shame as this is a terrific tournament.” Flanagan tweeted.
Organiser Heinrich Haussler had a slightly different opinion of the decisions and backed the referee after the Frankfurt side showed some bad sportsmanship, talking back to the official and kicking the ball away.
An almost farcical lost-in-translation moment led to the coaches being sent off, according to Haussler.
“The coaches were yelling at the players to stop talking back and kicking the ball away,” Haussler said.
“The referee thought they were yelling at him because they sounded angry but he couldn’t understand them because they were speaking German.”
The proof was eventually in the strudel as the Frankfurt captained apologised for the behaviour after accepting the winner’s trophy.
The Germans told The Leader early in the week that they were expecting the competition to be a bit stronger.
That was before a determined Coffs Harbour outfit embarrassed them in windy conditions on Thursday to win 4-1 and set up a rematch of the game for the final.
This is the second year in four years of the tournament that it has copped flak over officials after volunteers made some poor calls in the early years and it was decided that paid professionals had to officiate.
After the fiery affair, the other international side took to the field to play Harristown (Japan) in the women’s final.
The Waikato side, playing as New Zealand of course, scored a great goal early in the second half to go back to back after winning the tournament last year.
The U14 World Cup was taken home by Toowoomba Grammar 2 (Brazil), with Musgrave (Argentina) getting a close second.
The Queensland school also won the U12 competition as well, playing as Brazil, beating Port Macquarie (Holland) to the title.
“This year has seen the best football yet and hopefully it will keep improving every year,” Haussler said.