Graeme Souness and Roy Keane were involved in a heated row during half-time of Argentina’s World Cup clash with Saudi Arabia as they argued over a penalty kick.
The Copa America holders went into the half-time break with a one-goal lead after Leandro Paredes was adjudged to have been pulled down by Mohamed Kanno inside the box, with Lionel Messi dispatching the resulting spot-kick.
But the penalty appeared to be rather soft, with Paredes – who was nowhere near where the corner kick ended up landing – going down very easily.
Referees in Qatar have been asked to look out for blocking and holding from players who are not looking at the ball, but Souness and Keane clashed over the incident and ended up bickering on air for several minutes in a very tense exchange.
Asked if the referee was right to award a penalty, Souness replied: ‘Definitely! He’s not looking at the ball, he doesn’t know where the ball is. He’s only interested in the Argentinian player. He doesn’t know when it’s been kicked, he’s not looking and that is a penalty kick.’
Keane disagreed, responding: ‘No, no, no. All this is going to do is encourage diving. He [Paredes] is dragging the Saudi Arabia defender down, he’s dragging him down!’
Then followed a frantic and rather awkward exchange between the two pundits…
Souness: ‘Roy you’re not listening to what [presenter] Laura [Woods] said. It’s a directive from the referees.’
Keane: ‘I heard exactly what she said, yeah. This will encourage diving.’
Souness: ‘It’s not opinions. It’s facts. The guy wasn’t looking at the ball.’
Keane: ‘Well I’m here to give my opinion. That is not a penalty.’
Souness: ‘Well this is not about our opinions. It’s about the laws of the game.’
Keane: ‘What are we here for? Have I not come here to give my opinion? That’s not a penalty. That’s my opinion.’
Souness: ‘Their interpretation, the new law is if you’re not concentrating-‘
Keane: ‘I’m here to give my opinion, I don’t think that’s a penalty.’
Souness: ‘I’ve heard, you’ve said, that’s about 10 times you’ve said it.’
Keane: ‘I’m here to give my opinion! That’s not a penalty in my mind!’
Souness: ‘I’ve heard you say it 10 times, do you want to say it again?’
Keane: ‘Yeah, I’ll say it again, I don’t think it’s a penalty.’
Souness: ‘Well let someone else speak.’
Keane: ‘Go ahead.’
Souness: ‘You’ll learn a lot more if you listen rather than talk all the time.’
Keane: ‘Go ahead, I’ve got plenty of time, no problem.’
Souness: ‘So the ball comes in, he’s not looking at the ball, the directive from the referees is: that’s a penalty. We have to accept that’s a penalty.’
The Scot then tried to steer the conversation onto Argentina’s performance, before Keane returned to the row: ‘We’re going to see a record number of penalties at this World Cup. A record number of penalties if that’s a penalty.’
Souness: ‘I thought we’d moved on from that.’
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