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OH, NOW FIFA CONSIDERS HIGH-TECH REF HELP

Upon further review, soccer's governing body now agrees that something must be done about the blatant missed calls that have infuriated fans and players alike at the World Cup.

Just what that something is, though, won't even be addressed until after the tournament in South Africa is over.

A high-tech solution is possible, but it probably would address only that most egregious of refereeing mistakes: whether or not the ball crosses the goal line. Even putting the idea on the table is a concession for an organization that has long insisted that errors by officials are simply part of the game.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Tuesday that changes will be considered, and he apologized to the English and Mexican teams, both of which were victims of bad calls Sunday.

"The English said, 'Thank you.' The Mexicans, they just (nodded)," Blatter said. "I understand that they are not happy. It was not a five-star game for refereeing."

Several other teams were incorrectly denied or granted goals in this World Cup.

"Something has to be changed" to prevent similar embarrassments, Blatter said.

"After having witnessed such a situation," he said, "we have to open again this file, definitely."

In 2008, Blatter said soccer should be left with errors and that officiating should be left to "a man, not a machine." His stance Tuesday? "It would be a nonsense to not reopen the file of technology."

The International Football Association Board will consider the issue at a meeting in July in Cardiff, Wales. There's no guarantee Blatter's promise to revisit the use of the latest technology means he has changed his mind or that it will lead to new procedures at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Cup runs done

After being caught up in controversy, four referees won't move on: Uruguay's Jorge Larrionda, Italy's Roberto Rosetti, Mali's Koman Coulibaly and France's Stephane Lannoy. In the round of 16, Larrionda failed to see an England shot cross the line in a 4-1 loss to Germany, and Rosetti wrongly awarded a goal to Argentina's Carlos Tevez against Mexico when the forward was offside. In group play, Coulibaly disallowed a third U.S. goal in a 2-2 draw with Slovenia, and Lannoy harshly sent off Brazil's Kaka for a second yellow against the Ivory Coast. Not surprisingly, FIFA gave no reasons for the cuts.

In his honor

Paraguay's players are dedicating their success to Salvador Cabanas, the team's striker who is home recovering from a gunshot wound to the head. "What we are achieving is for him," F Cristian Riveros said after a victory over Japan sent Paraguay into its first World Cup quarterfinal. "He's always with us in spirit," Riveros said of Cabanas, who was attacked Jan. 25 in Mexico City during an argument about his scoring ability.

You've been warned

FIFA president Sepp Blatter warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that his country's team risks suspension from global tournaments if he meddles in the running of the national soccer federation. Blatter said he was sending a "clear and clean message" to the French government and Sarkozy, who has said he would personally lead the investigation into Les Bleus' dismal showing. FIFA rules demand that federations manage their affairs independently or face suspension from international soccer matches and business. Teams, referees and soccer officials can be barred from participating even if the federation is the innocent victim of government meddling.

Welcome home, sort of

North Korea's football team returned home from South Africa, where it played in its first World Cup since 1966 and lost all three matches. International TV news agency APTN showed footage of the players arriving at the airport in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. "It was good to be at the World Cup, since this is the first time that our team has taken part for 44 years," F Jong Tae Se said. Was it good to be home, though? Unlike during the team's departure, no crowds waited at the airport to greet it on its return.

Injury update

Uruguay F Diego Forlan (toe) took part in normal training for the quarterfinal against Ghana on Friday. The striker was hurt against South Korea in the round of 16. D Diego Godin (left thigh) remains doubtful despite training and practicing with a ball. Meanwhile, Ghana expects M Kevin-Prince Boateng (right thigh) to be fit for the quarterfinal. Boateng missed training Monday but should be available. The Black Stars will be without suspended D Jonathan Mensah and F Andre Ayew.

Who's the favorite?

Brazil remains the favorite to win an unprecedented sixth title, with odds of 9-4 according to BetUS. European champion Spain is next at 11-4, followed by Argentina at 7-2. Germany and the Netherlands are 7-1. Uruguay is 14-1, with Paraguay and Ghana at the bottom of the oddsmakers' charts at 35-1.

Times wires

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