Only a garbage time Didier Drogba goal spared Côte d’Ivoire from being blanked by Brazil yesterday, but despite the victors’ often clinical exhibition, the main talking points to emerge from this Group G encounter remain the floptastic antics of Kader Keita and a blantant handball on the part of Luis Fabiano.  For the Guardian’s Rob Smyth and Jon Ashdown,the performance of referee Stephane Lannoy is worthy of at least as much dissection.

The Ivorian reacted to Kaká’s raised arm by hitting the turf harder than a Grand National horse going AOT at Bechers Brook, getting the Brazilian sent off. Fabiano handled the ball so much in the buildup to Brazil’s second goal that it should have been followed by a conversion. Lannoy, the referee in Johannesburg, failed to spot the problems with either incident.

Arguably it is Lannoy who should bear the brunt “ the game was out of his control for much of the second half, with some tackles from the African side we might euphemistically describe as ‘feisty’ and more accurately describe as ‘dangerous’ going unpunished. But the Fiver isn’t going to stick it to The Man. Lannoy may have been incompetent, but the players were “ and the Fiver isn’t going to beat about the bush here “ probably not playing entirely in the spirit of the laws.

The managers, though, were happy to let Lannoy have it. “It was totally unjust,” Dunga raged. “He [Kaká] was the one who suffered the foul.” “It’s difficult to cope with Luís Fabiano and even more difficult if he’s allowed to use his hands,” moaned Sven-Goran Eriksson. “They got a goal free, a 2-0 goal which changed everything.” In the end, though, it’s all just hot air. Kaká will miss Brazil’s final group game, but they’re already through anyway, and la Seleção were pipe-and-slippers comfortable even at 1-0. Pathetic play-acting unfortunately seems welded to the game. As is their managers’ consistent failure to condemn it.