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FOOTBALL

Dodgy refs can't spoil the party

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"C'mon Aussie c'mon...We're back and better than ever!!" Chantal and Sarah celebrate Australia's victory at an Aussie bar in Nagoya, Japan.

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(CNN) -- With the World Cup under way, CNN's Fan Zone has been flooded with e-mails and photos from excited supporters in Germany and around the globe.

There's no prize for guessing what your biggest complaint has been so far -- the referees.

"When will FIFA start using instant replay in cases where even the spectators can see a bad decision by the referee?" asked Yolande M. Agble from Ghana.

"A bad decision can cost a team crucial points and leave a bad feeling among supporters and genuine football lovers as well. We have had a few glaringly stupid decisions by referees so far. Referees who are shown to be handing out bad decisions either through ignorance or design should be banned from refereeing at international games for an extended period."

Thirteen year-old England fan C. Viland was also critical of Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez's performance in England's 1-0 win over Paraguay. "I was shocked because I along with many people realized that the Mexican referee was in favor of Paraguay. He was always picking on Peter Crouch for no good reason."

"Are the World Cup referees running a secret contest to see who can flash the most yellow cards?" asked Irene Hoe. "And is the prize in store for the winner the chance to wield the whistle in the final?"

Elsewhere there was praise for Trinidad and Tobago -- the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup finals -- following their surprise draw with Sweden on Saturday.

"The performance of the Trinidad and Tobago team at the World Cup in Germany was breathtaking and fabulous. The fans were exemplars after the game and the tiny nation of Trinidad and Tobago is swimming in a sea of pride," wrote Dr. Adesh Nanan.

"I am thrilled to see that the pundits got it all wrong: Trinidad and Tobago defied all odds, including playing with 10 men for most of the second half!!" wrote Anthony Woods.

"The beautiful game transcends the statistics and analysis of so-called experts. Let the beautiful games continue!!!"

Meanwhile, many Australian fans wanted to wish their team luck ahead of the Socceroos' first World Cup match in 32 years against Japan on Monday.

"As an Australian, my hopes of the Socceroos doing well in Germany are echoed by my 20 million countrymen. We have not qualified for a World Cup since 1974 and even then we still did not score a goal," said James Ricupito.

"This time is different though. We have a new coach, Guus Hiddink, who is attributed with taking the Netherlands to the semifinals in 1998 and South Korea to the semis also in 2002. We may be in the "group of death" with Brazil, Japan and Croatia but do not underestimate the underdog, South Korea did it and Australia can too! Go Socceroos, Australia is behind you!"

Darren Nightingale has a special reason to look forward to Australia's forthcoming game with Brazil: "I'm an Australian working in Fortaleza, Brazil. I wear my Socceroo jersey to work every Friday much to the dismay of my Brazilian co-workers," he said. "It's all in jest now, but I wonder how it will be on the 18th June when Australia play Brazil. Go the Aussies!"

Other supporters have been impressed by the party atmosphere so far in Germany. Julia Klein from Bonn said she was looking forward to watching Germany play Ecuador on a big screen.

"If I could have, I would have bought a ticket, but like this it's also a lot of fun because you can have a party with other fans from all over the world! That's what I love so much about soccer: It brings people from all over the world together, no matter what color or religion they have. And it's a great feeling to be a part of that big community! And of course I hope that the German team will win the cup, but even if they don't I won't be disappointed, because just the fact that we are the hosts of this World Cup is a reason to celebrate!"

Finally, spare a thought for Jasmir Maradona from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, whose father loves the World Cup so much that he named his son after one of the tournament's greatest-ever stars. Not that Jasmir is bothered. "My father is just so insanely in love with this beautiful game that he named me Jasmir Maradona," he wrote.

"That's how world feels about football and people will do whatever it takes to show their love for this wonderful game. I'm proud of this name of mine and it's one of a kind. Please air this quote because my father is in Berlin, Germany, right now covering this sporting event and I want to show how much I love my name. Thanks a bunch!"

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