To be sure, not all red cards are bogus -- the sublime Zidane header on the right side of the page was obviously a match-ending offense. But if I were in charge of soccer, even fouls that are theoretically 'inarguable' red cards, like Nigerian Sani Keita's kung-fu chop against Greece, would not put one side a man down for the remainder of the match. It's a permanent penalty unlike any other in sport: the same obviously illegal action in hockey or football or baseball might result in an ejection, but you wouldn't see a team having to make do with two outfielders for the rest of the game (hmm, that actually sounds more interesting in baseball in than in soccer).
Worst yet are small fouls, maybe yellow cards at best, that are become reds in the hands of performative players and over-fastidious referees. Today's Chile-Switzerland game is a great example -- a stray and surely accidental back-elbow in a close challenge for the ball should not cause one team to play at a major disadvantage the rest of the match. The Germany-Serbia case is perhaps even more egregious: Miroslav Klose is guilty of a couple clumsy tackles and a fussy ref, and all of a sudden Germany is at 10 men for the next hour? It's not just unfair, it's bad for the game. What about three yellows for a red? The introduction of an intermediate "orange card" which is an ejection, but allows for a substitution?
What do you guys think? Any other suggestions? Or do you disagree with my premise entirely?
I will add, finally, that despite the unjust red I don't feel much sympathy for Switzerland. They were hoping to play 1-0 or 0-0 matches all tournament long and progress purely on grinding defense, lucky bounces, and penalty kicks. Definitely not the kind of Cinderella story we need at this World Cup.
Plus, what Harry Lime said in The Third Man: