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In one of my most recent blogs, I talked about the danger of two footed tackles and the blemish they put on an otherwise beautiful game.  Before I could even turn around, I watched one of the most anticipated games in the soccer world – Manchester Utd vs. Liverpool – turn into a reckless tackling free for all.  This game had moments of pure soccer brilliance, but it didn’t matter because a few yoyo’s that lost their heads.

First, I had to witness this tackle:

Now, for those of you that don’t know, Jamie Carragher is known as a hard-nosed defender.  He plays hard and he tackles hard.  I have nothing against a good hard tackle; but I do have a problem with guys going into tackles with the intent to injure somebody.

If you’re a soccer player, you understand when someone is tackling with the intent to win the ball and when someone is going to hurt the opponent.

First of all, no reasonable soccer player will lead with their cleats.  When players lead with their cleats, the intent is clear: injure!

Secondly, when you slide/lunge at a player, you never come with your foot raised off the ground.  This is simply because you can seriously hurt a player this way.  When you catch a player anywhere along the shin while his/her foot is planted, there is a high likelihood that a serious injury will follow.  I would post examples of this in the form of videos and photos but it’s too gruesome.

Now we all know that when a tackle like this happens, tensions are high and there is a good chance the other team will retaliate…and retaliate they did.  Shortly after this tackle occurred, Manchester Utd defender, Rafael, returned the favor.

That is absolutely barbaric.  I have no other way to describe that.

Both Carragher’s challenge and Rafael’s challenge received a yellow card.  Yellow card?!  How can those tackles only be yellow cards?!  If we’re to put a stop to these types of tackles, they must be severely punished.  Two footed tackles and reckless tackles need to receive the treatment of a serious offense.  They should have both received straight red cards, been fined heavily and missed multiple games.

The English Premier League has gained a reputation as a tough league; hard tackles are looked at as good soccer.   That’s great, but, in my opinion, the English Premier League has it all wrong.  If they’re going to tolerate these types of actions then we’ll continue to witness wild and careless tackles.  We’ll continue to see players with average skills at best flying around the field breaking legs.

Instead of promoting more skill, we’re witnessing bigger and stronger player’s – especially defenders – come into these league with bricks for feet.  Their purpose and intention is simple: tackle and tackle hard…the harder the better.

Let’s stop making physical play a priority; let’s make the mental understanding of the game our number one priority.


  • Bill says:

    Great comment! I wish more people thought this way.

    As a referee I am astonished by the inability for violent play in the EPL to be appropriately punished. I believe that the EPL powers-that-be like the game a bit violent because the English public likes violent tackles, it makes for good ratings.

    The truth of the matter is that this attitude hurts the game everywhere the EPL is viewed. As long as this attitude is prevalent, physicality will be valued over skill and intelligence. Where ever this happens, the ability of teams to compete internationally will be harmed. It is a big problem for England (Scotland and the USA).

    • wp_user_avatar Ivan Bobanovic says:

      I agree, the EPL and English public in general not only approve of bone busting tackles (literally), but they seemingly encourage it.

      When I think English soccer, I think Steven Gerard. He is the epitome of what it is to be an English soccer player. Hard working, hard tackling and the entire country absolutely loves it. Although I truly appreciate his wonderful ability, many of his tackles could have easily ended careers. Yet, he always gets away with a slap on the hand, because, well, that was a good tackle…

      Quite frankly, I don’t think the referee’s can be blamed for not appropriately penalizing the players. Change needs to come from the top in order to create a trickle down effect.

      Thanks for you comment, Bill. Please continue to follow us and post your comments.

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