Fri Jul 30 06:45pm EDT
High profile handballs are trendy right now. Starting with Thierry Henry's against Ireland last year and peaking with Luis Suarez's goal-saving effort against Ghana in the World Cup, both sparked outrage and debate, but both also helped their respective teams. South Korea defender Jeong Yeonga's handball in their 5-1 semifinal loss to their German hosts in the Women's U-20 World Cup did not help her team, though. Granted, it didn't really hurt her team, either, since they were already losing 4-1 at the time. But still...it was weird.
Here's how FIFA.com described the scene:
[Germany's Alexandra] Popp hammered in a shot that crashed back off the crossbar. The ball flew out to a defender [Yeonga] but instead of clearing it she chose to catch it even though she was standing inside the area.
She must have thought that play had been stopped for some reason or that the ball had gone out because she caught it as if it were the natural thing to do and then just dropped it on the ground. Maybe she thought the rules of the game were suddenly changed mid-match or maybe she just watched Inception and it totally messed with her head. I don't know. These things are better left unexplained and delightfully odd.
A penalty was given, but Yeonga wasn't booked for her blatant and befuddling offense. Now, Spain's AS.com is calling this "the world's dumbest penalty," which is more than a little harsh given that it appeared to be an honestly absent-minded moment. Hooray for hyperbole.