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Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

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U.S. team expects tight call from World Cup officials

Published on -6/15/2014, 6:09 PM

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By Michelle Kaufman

McClatchy-Tribune

SAO PAULO -- Like most soccer fanatics around the world, the U.S. national team gathered around a TV to enjoy the 2014 World Cup opener between host Brazil and Croatia on Thursday. The players watched Brazil's 3-1 victory from a private lounge in their heavily guarded team hotel, the five-star Tivoli in this city's trendy Jardins district.

They came away with two strong impressions, which they carried with them as they flew to Natal, site of their Monday opener against Ghana:

* This country really, truly is crazy for soccer.

* Referees at this World Cup are calling things very tight in the penalty box, so it's best for defenders to keep their hands down.

"I was up in my room for the second half with my window creaked open a little bit, and when Brazil scored those two goals in the second half and then again on the final whistle, I heard the entire city of Sao Paulo roar, and it gave me chills," U.S. defender Matt Besler said. "It was so cool. I was watching on my TV, and I saw the ref blow the final whistle and in the two-second delay, I heard an eruption in the city. I've never experienced that before. The energy of the country is finally here."

As for the questionable call on Croatian defender Dejan Lovren, who was booked with a yellow card in the box when Brazilian forward Fred went down after apparently little contact, the Americans said they learned a lesson.

"That was a tough one to see, but I think it's a good one to see because it's a lesson that maybe some of us learned just by watching," said U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones, who is admittedly foul-prone. "It's going to be called tight in the penalty box, so we've got to be careful."

Early last week, FIFA assigned an officiating representative to meet each of the 32 teams and brief the players on what they should expect from referees and some areas of emphasis. Esse Baharmast, a retired American referee who worked the 1998 World Cup, met with the U.S. team on Monday and fielded questions.

"Some referees were in the hotel to give us the rules and to say that we have to watch out with hands and tackling in the box, with holding and corner kicks and all that stuff," Jones said. "So we know not to touch people in the box and watch out with all that."

Officiating controversies are part of the World Cup. Mexican fans surely weren't happy that two Giovanni Dos Santos goals were called back in Friday's 1-0 victory over Cameroon.

Four years ago, the United States rallied from two goals down to tie it up against Slovenia, and then Maurice Edu scored an apparent game-winning goal in the 86th minute. But Malian referee Koman Coulibaly waved it off without explanation.

Tim Howard, America's veteran goalkeeper, when asked about the penalty in the Brazil-Croatia match, replied: "Which penalty? I didn't see one, but you know I don't have a whistle, so I'll have to take that into account and hope we don't touch anybody in the box."

Howard said he doesn't fault Fred for going down.

"I've got no problem with the Brazilian player going down," he said. "I would encourage my own players, if they feel contact, to go down. It's a referee's job, obligation and responsibility to make sure that he gets it right.

"It's a hard job, but it is the referee's job to get it right. If it's a dive, they book the guy or you play on; if it's a penalty, you call a penalty, but that decision lies with the referee."

Saturday's game between Colombia and Greece included an American referee, Mark Geiger, the first to work a World Cup match since 2002.

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