Updated daily: A complete guide to the referees of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

th-1They are the men in black, a cast of 25 referees who will descend upon Brazil for this year’s FIFA World Cup.
While we can’t disagree that some of the selected officials are fully deserving of the honour and therefore fit the part of an ‘elite’ referee; The track record of many others has left us scratching our heads, leaving us convinced FIFA has also selected a secondary cast of fools set to take centre stage at this year’s tournament.
RedCardTheRef had a detailed look at the credentials of this year’s match officials and was surprised what we found.
Two of the tournament’s referees appear to suffer from the ‘Graham Poll effect‘, feeling two yellow cards was simply not enough to dismiss a player from the field of play.
Another referee from the Asian confederation is a professed pacifist and chose not to defend himself or hand out any red cards after being swarmed by players and physically assaulted during a match. Meanwhile another ref unwittingly became part of a Nigerian team victory celebration during an African Cup of Nations match.
From the CONCACAF you can read about the United States’ Major League Soccer has to offer: It isn’t much. Fans in Brazil, please remember not to be surprised if this referee doesn’t spot all the cheap shots and elbows and oh yes, make sure you bring your Geiger counter to any of his games.
thThere is also the heart-wrenching tale about a former bad boy referee who didn’t lose his mittens, but instead was left snow blind in Colorado and refused to put a stop to a crucial qualifying match even despite near-zero visibility.
While most won’t question his credentials and professionalism, one referee at Brazil 2014 looks a little too much like Boris Karloff for our liking. The resemblance is so striking that he is actually referred to as “Chiquidracula” or young Dracula in his native Mexico.
From South America we have what the selection committee deemed to be Brazil’s top referee, a ref who was recently publically defamed by superstar Neymar and then fought a drawn-out and public court battle against the player for defamation.
Some of the European flavour at this year’s tournament includes a millionaire from Sweden who according to one coach and critic from Manchester just wasn’t rich enough for the job.
FIFA’s representative from Netherlands has a bizarre interpretation of the offside rule. While he may be a cheating striker’s dream come true but for the rest of us is simply a little too confusing.
And then of course Brazil 2014 will also get a little bit ‘Howard’.
The ex-policeman is far from a fan favourite, and has one back-to-back titles in RedCardTheRef’s English Premier League worst referee poll.
When the tournament begins you will have a chance to have your say and vote for the worst referee at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

2014 FIFA WORLD CUP REFEREE LIST

A look at this year’s referees, by confederation, with full name, member association and date of birth; with linesman and support duos including updated statistics and match notes.

ASIA [AFC]

(4 trios, 1 support duo)
thRavshan Irmatov

Nationality: Uzbekistan
Date of Birth: 09/08/1977

Linesman: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov, Uzbekistan, 10/01/1976; Bakhadyr Kochkarov, Kyrgyzstan, 13/05/1970

Named top referee in Asia four consecutive years from 2008 to 2011…This 32-year-old was the youngest referee of the 2010 World Cup and the youngest ever to take charge of an opening match…Irmatov became the centre of controversy at the 2013 Confederations Cup in a match between Brazil and Italy. He first blew his whistle to award Italy a penalty pointing to the spot but then allowed play to continue as Giorgio Chiellini scored for the Azzurri and the referee confusingly allowed the goal. Irmatov later confessed his error stating: “Out of the corner of my eye I saw the goal and thought the advantage should be played and gave the goal.” FIFA president Sepp Blatter also apologized for Irmatov`s mistake in a statement about the overall quality of refereeing at the tournament.

Irmatov at the World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 14
Fouls: 104
June 15, Match 9, Switzerland 2, Ecuador 1: A sub-par performance by Irmatov and his team of officials from the Asian confederation…Irmatov denied two Swiss penalty kick appeals. The first came in the 36th minute when Frickson Erazo appeared to block a shot by Xherdan Shaquiri with his elbow and a second in the 82nd minute when Cristian Noboa jumped and appeared to block Shawquiri’s free kick with his arm…Incorrectly called a goal by Switzerland for offside in the 70th minute. Irmatov and his crew ruled that Josip Drmch was in an offside position when he received the ball from Ricardo Rodriguez because the ball had been flicked on by teammate Granit Xhaka, but replays showed Xhaka never touched the ball and the goal should have stood…Did a good job a spotting some of the not so obvious fouls such as Walter Ayovi’s subtle slap to the face of Shaqiri late in the first half as well as a Ecuador handball in the Swiss penalty area by Felipe Caicedo during a goalmouth scramble. 

June 23, Match 36, Mexico 3,  Croatia 1: Desperation for Round of 16 qualification in a must-win game for both teams as physical play dominates the match early on with Irmatov doing a questionable job of keeping a lid on emotions throughout…Denied an obvious handball by Darijo Srna of Croatia and furious calls for a penalty by Mexico as Srna first hauls down Javier Hernandez who attempted to leap for a cross in the penalty area and then blocks a sure goal for Mexico with both of his hands on a shot from Andres Guardado. Irmatov denies both appeals to the disbelief of El Tri…Irmatov and his crew also denied another handball claim in the 39th minute when Danijel Pranjic bats a Mexican corner kick away with his outstretched arm at the edge of his penalty area but the offence is not spotted by Irmatov or his linesmen…Emotions also boiled over at the end of the first half with pushing and shoving in the 42nd minute when Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa won a free kick after being clattered into by Hector Morena while Mexico’s Andres Guardado earned a yellow card  for a late slide tackle from behind in first half injury time which also brought about a scrum of players…Croatia substitute Ante Razic deservedly earned a straight red card for his cynical challenge on Mexico’s Carlos Pena in the 89th minute with a studs up challenge to the Mexican defenders’ ankle which sent him catapulting into midair.

June 26, Match 46, Germany 1, United States 0Wet and sloppy conditions contributed to this feisty affair between the two Group G leaders… Germany’s Benedikt Howedes was the first to earn a yellow card for tripping up Fabian Johnson on a breakaway in the 11th minute…One for the tournament referee blooper reel as Irmatov trips up Jones at the top of the Germany penalty area to dash a U.S. scoring opportunity in the 28th minute…Omar Gonzalez of the United States gets a yellow card in the 38th minute for a professional foul on Schweinsteiger who stole the ball and started a dangerous German counter attack…In an ongoing battle between the two players, Schweinsteiger trips up Jones at the top of the German penalty area with an intentional late chop to the legs but no foul is called…53rd minute U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley lucky to escape a card after a late challenge on Philipp Lahm. Schweinsteiger is also fortunate for not going into the books with another late foul on Jones two minutes later… Schweinsteiger is sandwiched in a horrific challenge in the 62nd minute by Jones and Kyle Beckerman as Beckerman is correctly awarded a yellow card for taking a swipe at his opponent on the play…The U.S. bench is up in arms at Irmatov in the 88th minute as two Two German defenders sandwich Clint Dempsey at half and the foul is not called. Then seconds later Demarcus Beasley is whistled for a foul on Lahm which thwarts a late U.S. rush.

July 5, Match 60, Netherlands 0, Costa Rica 0 (Netherlands wins 4-3 on penalty kicks)A solid and balanced effort by Irmatov but the disappointment continued with Netherlands` target man Arjen Robben escaping punishment once again for simulation. Mostly do to his theatrics and less for the seriousness of the fouls, the Dutch striker was able to draw four yellow cards in the match….Junior Diaz was the first to be cautioned for grabbing Robben in the 37th minute. Robben clearly over-embellishes the foul…Robben draws the second yellow card of the match in the 52nd minute but this time Michael Umana`s slide tackle from behind was clearly worthy of a booking…Just before the halftime break Costa Rica are up in arms after Robin van Persie appears to step on the ankles of Umana after the defender had made a successful tackle on his opponent…Costa Rica penalty appeals denied in the 60th minute as Joel Campbell is pushed from behind in the penalty area by Bruno Martins Indi but no foul called by Irmatov…After repeat fouls, Irmatov finally books Martins Indi after his rugby-style tackle on Bryan Ruiz in the 64th minute. Martins Indi was lucky not to receive a red card as he had no chance of getting the ball and plainly denied his opponent a clear-cut scoring chance…Netherlands wins a free kick in the Costa Rica half after a dangerous high boot to the head of Netherlands’ Daley Blind in the 74th minute. The contact is minimal but Gamboa is lucky to get off with just a warning…Robben draws his third yellow card of the match in the 81st minute as Giancarlos Gonzalez puts the grab on Robben but the striker again hits the ground all too easily…Diaz is lucky not to get sent off for his second yellow of the match after a late challenge on Robben to the left of the Costa Rica penalty area in the second minute of injury time. Again Robben overemphasizes the offence but it is clearly a foul…In the 107th minute of injury time Johnny Acosta was shown the yellow card for his body block on Robben just outside his team`s penalty area…Four minutes later Klaas Jan Huntelaar picks up Netherlands’ second and final yellow card of the match after delivering a forearm to the face of goalkeeper Keylor Navas while he leapt to collect a high ball.

th-2Yuichi Nishimura
Nationality: Japan
Date of Birth: 17/04/1972

Linesmen: Toru Sagara, Japan, 25/06/1976; Toshiyuki Nagi, Japan, 29/11/1971

Nishimura produced the first red card of the 2010 World Cup when he sent midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro of Uruguay off the field for two yellow cards in a match against France…Ejected Brazil’s Melo in the 2010 quarter-final vs. Netherlands as Brazil crashed out of the World Cup…Was assaulted by Algerian players during a FIFA U-17 World Cup match in 2007 but instead of reaching for his red card, Nishimura refused to send off any of the offending players and thus he thus was never assigned to any more matches during that tournament…Selected J. League referee of the year in 2009 and 2010…Caused uproar among Congolese fans during a 2010 World Club Cup match between Inter Milan and TP Mazembe when he called 21 fouls against the African side and only 9 against the representatives from Europe.

Nishimura at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 4
Fouls: 26

June 12, Match 1, Brazil 3, Croatia 1: Became the first Japanese referee to take charge of an opening match at the World Cup when he oversaw Brazil and Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo. Made the tournament’s first controversial call when he awarded a game-winning penalty kick to Brazil after Fred clearly dived in the penalty area in the 67th minute after an alleged foul by Croatia’ defender Lovren…The penalty kick decision will forever tarnish the referee’s reputation at this year’s tournament and beyond as his decision drew the ire of Croatian players and coaching staff and stole much of the thunder and optimism of opening day at World Cup 2014.

th-1Nawaf Shukralla
Nationality: Bahrain
Date of Birth: 13/10/1976

LinesmenYaser Khalil Abdulla Tulefat, Bahrain, 24/06/1974; Ebrahim Mubarak Saleh, 13/06/1974

One of the most inexperienced referees at this year’s tournament, Shukaralla saw his first full-fledged action on the international stage when he was first called into action during the 2011 U17 World Cup…He has officiated several club and Asian Cup matches during his career including matches at the 2012 FIFA Club Cup…His full-time occupation is a legal researcher.

Shukralla at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 6
Fouls: 60
June 23, Match 34, Spain 3, Australia 0Called a tight game whistling down clutch and grab fouls quickly with little controversy in this one-sided match by the defending champions and the Socceroos who were both playing in their final match of the tournament. The man from Bahrain, officiating his country’s first match at the World Cup in 32 years, did an admirable job…Maintained order in the 62nd minute with a yellow card to Sergio Ramos of Spain for a  retaliatory foul on the Socceroos’ Ben Halloran just seconds after a seemingly unfair challenge on Andres Iniesta by Mile Jedinak…Jedinak finally went into the books in the third minute of injury time after his knee-high boot to the legs of David Silva while teammate Matthew Spiranovic also saw yellow for a deliberate tug on Silva`s shirt as Spain began to run away with the match. 

June 26, Match 45, Portugal 2, Ghana 1Referee Shukralla had a solid effort in a game which began with a huge foul rate and ended with a heated pushing and shoving match. The referee allowed the play to flow and showed restraint in issuing yellow cards on several fouls which could have been bookable offences, calling 11 fouls in the opening 22 minutes of the match…An 11th minute foul by Ghana’s John Boye on Joao Moutinho, Moutinho’s 16th minute challenge on Harrison Afful and Afful’s foul on Ronaldo in the 27th minute all could have been yellow cards but the referee decided only to award free kicks…Afful finally went into the books in the 39th minute with the first yellow card of the match after hauling down Ronaldo…Portugal players surround the referee at halftime for not allowing a final injury-time throwin. To be fair Portugal wasted at least 20 seconds leading up to the throw so the referee was justified in his decision…Ghana’s Wajeed Waris receives a yellow card for his stomp on the foot of Pepe in the 55th minute…73rd minute Portugal penalty kick appeals denied as Ronaldo is barged over from behind by Boye…Jordan Ayew of Ghana gets a yellow card for retaliating with an elbow to the face of William in the 78th minute after the Portuguese midfielder grabbed his opponent by the shorts in full view of the referee…In the final minute of injury time Jaoa Moutinho trips up Asamoah Gyan outside of the Portugal penalty area and receives a yellow card. A huge scrum of players push and shove but Moutinho does well to restore order as the match draws to a close.

th-2

Ben Williams
Nationality: Australia
Date of Birth: 14/04/1977

LinesmenMathew James Cream, Australia, 19/06/1975; Hakan Anaz, Australia, 04/08/1969

One of the A-League’s most experienced officials, Williams has officiated some high-profile matches including the opening match at the 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium between England and Senegal…Voted 2013 AFC referee of the year…Williams became the centre of controversy at the 2010 Asian Games when he made the decision to send off two Malaysian players in the 27th minute of their match versus China and was heavily criticised for some of his decisions during this match…Williams is a physical education teacher at Belconnen High School in Hawker, Canberra.

Williams at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 3
Yellow Cards: 15
Fouls: 96

June 19, Match 26, Ecuador 2, Honduras 1: Williams took charge of this highly physical confrontation and was pressed into action early as Victor Bernardez of Honduras received an early yellow card for an ill-advised tackle on Ecuador’s Enner Valencia in the 7th minute…Correctly ruled Valencia’s 34th minute equalizer onside as Williams ruled that the ball had taken a subtle deflection off of Honduras defender Jorge Claros…Decided not to caution Maynor Figueroa of Honduras as his sweeping tackle may have brutally upended opponent Juan Peredes but was not ruled a foul because Figueroa got all ball on the play…Correctly denied a first-half injury-time equalizer by Jerry Bengston of Honduras who clearly turned the ball into the goal with his hand and attempted to deceive the officials despite also being in an off-side position…Turns down Ecuador penalty kick claims as Felipe Caicedo gets tripped from behind in the box and replays vindicate Williams as the defender did make the slightest of contact with the ball…Williams was forced to reach to his pocket again in the 80th minute as Jefferson Montero of Ecuador earns a yellow card for his role in a shoving match after his foul on Carlo Costly…90th min Valencia denied a hat trick on the night as Williams ruled a handball helped Ecuador regain possession of the ball.

June 26, Match 47,  Belgium 1, South Korea 0Belgium’s victory over South Korea was marked by Steven Defour’s  red card in the 45th minute of play after a dangerous challenge on Kim Shin-Wook. An out of control Defour lunged into the ankle of Kim Shin-Wook and referee Williams made no hesitation in reaching for red, the ninth ejection of the tournament…Williams called a number of undeserved fouls in favour of South Korea including a 28th minute foul by Anthony Vanden Borre on Yun Suk-Young and four minutes later when Kim Shin-Wook went to ground after minimal contact by Nicolas Nombaerts. He correctly turned down a false penalty-kick appeal from South Korea’s Koo Ja-Cheol in the seventh minute and another form Lee Chung-Yong in the 65th minute… Hong Jeongho drew the game’s first yellow card in the 32nd minute when he held back Belgium’s Kevin Miralles from advancing on the left wing with a rugby-style hold…50th minute Mousa Dembelle earned the game’s third and final yellow card for kicking the ball away after a foul on Ki Sung-Yueng…In the 55th minute Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini should have been cautioned for his dive and less-than-convincing attempt at drawing a spot kick after the slightest of nudges from Hong Jeong-Ho…South Korea was never really a threat against 10-man Belgium especially after Williams correctly ruled Jan Vertonghen’s 78th minute strike onside… South Korea’s futile attempts to draw free kicks began to wear thin with the referee by the end of the match many of which were finally ignored by Williams…Belgium was briefly reduced to nine men after Vanden Borre was injured on a late tackle by Lee Chung-Yong with Williams failing to call a foul or issue a yellow card for the challenge.

June 29, Match 52, Costa Rica 1, Greece 1 (Costa Rica wins 5-3 on penalty kicks): In only his third match of the World Cup Williams issued his second and third red cards of the tournament and flashed 8 yellow cards in a physical confrontation that was decided on penalty kicks…Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte was shown his first yellow card in the 43rd minute for putting the hold on Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and then was issued his second yellow and thus red card in the 60th minute for his late slide tackle on Jose Cholevas…Greece coach Fernando Santos was also shown a red card at the completion of extra time after a heated argument with Williams…Some ugly fouls including the continued late challenges and cheap shots to Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell were a sickening aspect of this game which precipitated the escalation of hostilities… Despite several assaults on Campbell, Williams did finally book Andreas Samaris for his cynical tackle on Campbell in the 36th minute… A delibertate body check by Georgios Karagounis to Campbell just outside the Greece penalty area led to a dangerous free kick for Costa Rica but surprisingly led to no yellow card from Williams…Meanwhile Kostas Manolas took Campbell down in the 72nd minute with a horrific challenge which easily could have been a straight red card but only drew a yellow card from Williams…The referee also missed a blatant handball by Vasileios Torosidis in the 54th minute when the defender batted a swirling pass out of the air with his raised arm but the offence was not spotted by Williams or either of his two linesmen…Williams had a slow start to discipline in the match but an early card or two may have seen the foul and caution total in this match at a much lower number. By the early portion of the second half the cards began to flow freely with Costa Rica backup defender Esteban Grandos even going into the to the books from the substitutes bench in the 56th minute.

Support Duo

Alireza, Faghani, Iran, 21/03/1978
Hassan Kamiranifar, Iran, 19/04/1972

AFRICA [CAF]

(3 trios, 2 support duos)

thNoumandiez Desire Doue
Nationality: Ivory Coast
Date of Birth: 29/09/1970

LinesmenSonguifolo Yeo, Ivory Coast, 01/01/1970; Jean Claude Birumushahu, Burundi, 13/02/1972

Named African confederation referee of the year in 2011…The 43-year-old pharmacist first took up refereeing in 2004… He has been criticized by some for his inconsistency, with a match between Equatorial Guinea and Libya drawing the scorn of African football bloggers after he awarded a controversial game-deciding penalty kick to Libya.

Doue at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 5
Fouls: 50

June 13, Match 4, Chile 3, Australia 1:  You know an official is doing a good job when there is little to write about. This is the case with Doue who clearly stood above all else on the first two days at the World Cup with a near perfect performance….His only fault of the match may have been missing a Chilean offside midway through the second half…He refused to reward either team in their feeble attempts to draw penalty kicks… Correctly let play continue after mutual clutch and grab by both teams throughout much of the match…Can also be praised for allowing quick restarts and letting the game flow.

June 25, Match 44, France 0, Ecuador 0: A controversial and undeserved second-half red card for Ecuador’s Antonio Valencia turned the tide of the match and helped eliminate Ecuador from the tournament…. As Valencia burst down the wing in the 48th minute and stepped over the ball, Lucas Digne of France came sliding in with his cleats up. As a result of the challenge, Valencia’s ankle raked across Digne’s knee and after consulting his linesmen, Doue unexpectedly flashed a red card at Valencia….Doue had a difficult time keeping control of the match. Despite the red card several other serious fouls in the match went unpunished including an elbow to the face of Ecuador’s Oswaldo Minda in the 8th minute by Les Bleus Mamadou Sakho, Digne’s challenge on Alex Abarra of Ecuador in the 68th minute or Ecuador forward Michael Arroyo’s late tackle which swept Laurent Koscielny off his feet after he released the ball and was clearly seen by Doue but not punished… Doue awarded Frickson Erazo of Ecuador the only yellow card of the match for a clumsy challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin in the 83rd minute.

th-1Bakary Papa Gassama
Nationality: Gambia
Date of Birth: 10/02/1979

LinesmenEvarist Menkouande, Cameroon, 14/11/1974; Felicien Kabanda, Rwanda, 19/07/1971Will make history at the 2014 World Cup when he becomes the first Gambian to officiate a World Cup match…Highly touted as a promising young referee who gained valuable international experience at the 2012 Olympics, and the 2012, 2013 African Cup of Nations…He has participated at the U-20 World Cup once and the twice at the U17 World Cup…Shortlisted as a favourite for the 2013 African referee of the year award also becoming the first Gambian to be shortlisted for this award.

Gassama at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 2
Fouls: 40
June 23, Match 33, Netherlands 2, Chile 0A generally strong game from Gassama on his World Cup 2014 debut as he correctly turned down numerous appeals by Chile for penalty kicks surrounding Chile striker Alexis Sanchez who should have been booked for his theatrics…In the 37th minute Sanchez went to ground in the penalty area all too easily after a slight nudge in the arm from Dirk Kuyt . The striker again tried to fool Gassama in the 63rd minute as Netherland’s Jasper Cillessen wins the ball and Sanchez goes tumbling to the ground once more. Again in the 88th minute Sanchez went to ground after a fair challenge from Nigel DeJong and Gassama correctly denies the appeal…Confusion in the 69th minute as the fourth official has technical problems with the substitutes display board and Chile are unable to get their substitution Jean Beausejour on the field until 2 minutes later during the next stoppage in play. 

th-2Djamel Haimoudi
Nationality: Algeria
Date of Birth: 10/02/1970

Linesmen: Redouane Achik, Morocco, 21/04/1972; Abdelhak Etchiali, Algeria, 27/06/1981

Known as a stern disciplinarian, Haimoudi ironically became the centre of a comical controversy in a 2013 African Cup of Nations match between Nigeria and Burkina Faso when Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama attempted to lift Haimoudi on his shoulders after his team won the match…Haimoudi began his career in 2004 and was selected as African referee of the year in 2012…He officiated last year’s Confederation Cup third place match between Uruguay and Italy…Senior observers in his confederation say he can handle the pressure of the World Cup. Retired Ugandan official Ali Tomusange recently congratulated Haimoudi saying he is capable of handling “any match at any level”

Haimoudi at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 10
Fouls: 113
June 18, Match 18, Netherlands 3, Australia 2: Awarded a highly questionable penalty kick to Australia in the 53rd minute after a cross by Oliver Bozinic’s struck the arm of defender Daryl Janmaat. Janmaat’s arms looked to be at his side as the ball glanced off his wrist. The decision clearly went against the trend so far at Brazil 2014 which has been to deny such appeals…  Called a tournament-high 43 fouls but only two yellow cards in the match…Overall, Maintained order and called an extremely tight game in a physical clash…Was quick to put a stop to a scuffle between the two teams after Holland’s Nigel de Jong’s two-footed tackle on Australia’s Tommy Orr. Did not caution De Jong for the offence…Did issue Tim Cahill and Robin van Persie their second yellow cards of the tournament and thus both players will miss Holland’s final clash against Chile.

June 24, Match 38, Costa Rica 0, England 0: A rough and tumble 0-0 zero stalemate for already eliminated England and tournament surprise Costa Rica who had had already booked their spot in the second round. Referee Haimoudi was forced to reach to his pocket three times for some serious fouls but otherwise showed a great deal of restraint in not adding to the number of cautions or showing a red card in the match….In the second minute Haimoudi wrongly awards a goal kick to England after a shot by Joel Campbell struck the left hand of England`s Tim Cahill. While there was no intent to handle the ball by Cahill, the corner kick clearly should have gone to Costa Rica…England committed several repeat fouls on speedy Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell and were lucky not to go into Haimoudi’s notebook after midfielder Frank Lampard put the hold on him in the 23rd minute and later Adam Lallana escaped a caution for his foul on Campbell ……Haimoudi issued a flurry of yellow cards during an eight minute stretch in the second half:  England`s Ross Barkley is awarded a yellow card in the 53rd minute for a foul on Cristian Gamboa, 57th minute, Lallana is carded for his poorly-time slide tackle on the Ticos Bryan Ruiz while Costa Rica`s Giancarlo Gonzalez only gets a yellow card, but easily could have seen red,  for his dangerous take-down of speedy young Three Lions’ midfielder Ross Barkley in the 60th minute. Yellow Cards: 3, Fouls: 34

July 1, Match 56,  Belgium 2, United States 1 (extra time)Despite pre-match criticism of Haimoudi by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a nearly flawless performance by Africa’s 2012 referee of the year in one of the most memorable matches of the tournament match won in extra time by Belgium. Although there were a few blips worthy of mention, little seemed to deceive the referee from Algeria and his linesmen…Geoff Cameron of the united States received the first yellow card of the match in the 18th minute for his late challenge on Dries Mertens…Three minutes before the break, Belgium’s Vincent Kompany chops out the legs of striker Clint Dempsey forcing Haimoudi to reach for a yellow card…The referee halted play for over a minute after a pitch invasion in the 16th minute…Haimoudi missed spotting what seemed three serious fouls in the opening half, the first occurring after he failed to whistle down Eden Hazard for a handball in the 13th minute and on the same play Haimoudi fails to blow his whistle or reach for yellow for a reckless challenge by Matt Besler on Belgium’s Divock Origi…Michael Bradley also escaped punishment after Mertens was taken down at the halfway line during a Belgium rush…A rather uneventful second half and some more solid decisions from Djamel and his crew including ruling Kevin Mirallas onside on Belgium’s 76th minute breakaway…In the final minutes of the match he and his assistants appeared to miss an offside on Belgium’s Vincent Kompany who was in an offside position when he received a pass from De Bruyne but thankfully for the United States their goalkeeper Tim Howard made another spectacular save to keep the score level…After being outscored 2-1 in extra time U.S. coach Jurgen launches a verbal assault on the fourth official in the match for only adding on minute of injury time at the end of the match.

July 12, Match 63, Third Place, Netherlands 3, Brazil 0: From the opening whistle it was clear this was not going to be one of the better referee performances at this year’s tournament…Haimoudi began the match by awarding Arjen Robben of the Netherlands a controversial penalty kick in the second minute. The Dutch striker was clearly held back by Thiago Silva – who deservedly received a yellow card for the offence – but the foul occurred outside of the penalty area and the correct decision was a yellow card and free kick for Holland…Robben would receive the first yellow card of the match in the ninth minute after a clear tug to the shirt of Paulinho. It should be noted that the Algerian official and his crew failed to spot David Luiz’ tug on Robben during the same play….Netherlands’ Julian de Guzman saw a yellow card in the 36th minute for clipping the heels of Oscar who pushed the ball through the middle of the Netherlands’ defence…Haimoudi failed to award a yellow card to Ron Vlaar after the Netherlands defender missed his swipe at the ball but delivered a full-force kick to the shin pads of Ramires in the 43rd minute…Fernandinho received a yellow card in the 54th minute for his late trip on Robin van Persie…Haimoudi handed out the first yellow card for simulation at this year’s tournament to Oscar of Brazil for his attempts to draw a penalty kick after an obvious foul from opponent Daley Blind. Replays showed Blind clearly fouled Oscar but his over-simulation clearly did not convince Haimoudi who reached for yellow….Despite the rare discipline to Oscar for his tired PK sales pitch, the unconvincing high-flying antics of Arjen Robben would again continue unabated. Already on a yellow card for his first-half foul on Paulinho, the striker was lucky not to be sent off for simulation during several moments of the match. There was his less than convincing attempt to get Fernandinho sent off moments after the Brazilian’s initial yellow card. He also hit the deck again after a light tap from Willian in the 77th minute. As the match progressed it became difficult for Haimoudi and his crew to determine the legitimate fouls from the fakes…In the 82 minute the referee and his linesman could have easily awarded a penalty kick to Robben after Fernandinho clearly charged thorough his back. But a yellow card could also have gone to Robben on the very same play as television replays clearly showed him controlling the ball with his arm. Oddly neither offence was dealt with by Haimoudi…A different referee may have shown Hernanes of Brazil a straight red card for his ground level and sweeping karate style takedown of Robben in the 58th minute. But again in this case Robben‘s overemphasis and theatrics helped the defender escape without any cards…Brazil’s appeals for a penalty kick were denied in the 65th minute as Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar clearly handled the ball inside the area while blocking a cross by Maicon.

Support Duos

Neant Alioum, Cameroon, 01/01/1982
Djibril Camara, Senegal, 20/08/1983
Daniel Frazer Bennett, South Africa, 22/08/1976
Marwa Range, Kenya, 31/01/1977

NORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN [CONCACAF]

(3 trios, 2 support duos)

th-2Joel Aguilar
Nationality: El Salvador
Date of Birth: 02/07/1975

LinesmenWilliam Torres, El Salvador, 22/02/1975; Juan Zumba, 19/09/1982

Was at the centre of controversy for not putting a stop to the United States’ white-out qualifying win over Costa Rica, played in a blinding snowstorm in March of 2013. Despite near zero visibility and several of inches of snow on the field in Commerce City, Colo., Aguilar refused to suspend the match, leading to fierce protests from Costa Rica as well as some harsh criticism from international observers…Selected as a reserve official for the 2010 World Cup. In the days prior to the tournament he and his officiating team risked suspension due to a dispute between FIFA and the El Salvadorian federation concerning political interference. Aguilar and his countrymen were reinstated but never pressed into action during the tournament.…A former defender and ‘bad boy’ who was sent off many times during his playing career, Aguilar says he is tuned into the psyche of players and what makes them tick…

Aguilar at the 2014 World Cup

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 4
Fouls: 64
June 15, Match 11, Argentina 2, Bosnia-Herzegovina 1: Escaped controversy in the first half with a solid performance through the first 45 minutes…Frustrated Bosnia with an extremely tight offside call in the 62nd minute on one of their few breakaways in the match…His calls seemed to cause little disruption throughout the match and Aguilar appeared to administer the correct level of discipline when needed even after Bosnia-Herzegovina’s opening goal in the 85th minute when the match intensified to the close.

June 19, Match 23, Japan 0, Greece 0: Some good and some bad in this one for Aguilar and his crew. Aguilar showed Katsouranis of Greece a yellow card in the 27th minute for a professional foul on Yuya Osaka who prepared to break up field…36th minute Jose Cholevas of Greece lucky not to be seriously injured after a follow through by Keisuke Honda after he missed the ball…Katsouranis was shown the fifth red card of the tournament for his second bookable offence after a late challenge on Japan’s Makoto Hasebe…With Greece shorthanded Giorgos Samaras shows his weakness as a defender when he draws a yellow card for a terrible swipe at Yoshito Okubu…Aguilar turns down an attempt to get another opponent in the books by Maya Yoshida crumples to the ground after a forearm shot from Ioannis Manatais…The match was very physical and Aguilar and his team were challenged to keep the dirty play under control.

th-4Mark Geiger
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 25/08/1974

LinesmenMark Sean Hurd, United States, 09/11/1971; Joe Fletcher, Canada, 10/09/1976

The former high school teacher from New Jersey has his first World Cup assignment. He is the first American match official appointed to the tournament since 2002 and hopes to become the first ever U.S. official to be assigned to matches past the group stage……Geiger took charge of Brazil’s 3-2 extra time victory over Portugal at the 2011 U20 World Cup final… During Major League Soccer play, Geiger has made many bewildering decisions exposing his inexperience. This includes a June 2012 match between Montreal and Seattle where his unwarranted surprise ejection of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado drew the ire of Sounders’ players and coaching staff. Like most MLS referees, his inconsistency at spotting off-the-ball fouls can often lead to the escalation of tempers in matches he officiates and his failure to administer the correct discipline at the right points in the match are recurring issues…Geiger appeared to lose control of one match between D.C. United and Philadelphia in 2012 drawing the scorn of D.C. coach Ben Olsen who described his performance as ‘The Geiger Show’. “He wants to make the big call to change games,” said Olsen. “It was his show tonight, it’s not about the players.”

Geiger at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 7
Fouls: 89
June 14, Match 5, Colombia 2, Greece 0: A near flawless performance by American referee Mark Geiger who called a then tournament-leading 33 fouls in the match. Geiger also correctly turned down numerous foul appeals by both Colombia and Greece in the first half and kept the tempo of the match moving at a pace worthy of a World Cup match…The only flaws in this outing for Geiger could be the fact he failed to brandish more than three yellow cards, especially after a series of persistent fouls by Colombia late in the first half after they had built a 2-0 lead. One such incident was when Mario Yepes tripped-up Ioannis Fetfaltidis to the right of the penalty area but Geiger refused to even award a free kick on the play…An 82nd minute flash point occurred when Colombian defender Juan Zuniga appeared to trip Vasileios Torosidis in the penalty area. Replays showed Geiger could have easily decided to point to the spot for the offence and book Zuniga or conversely book Torosidis for simulation but chose to ignore the play completely.

June 18, Match 19, Chile 2, Spain 0: Geiger continued the trend of yellow card restraint as Spain appeared helpless to thwart Chile’s attack as the desperation fouls mounted in a physical match…In the 33rd minute Diego Costa’s not so subtle knee to the back of Arturo Vidal’s head went unpunished by Geiger while Pedro escaped a yellow card for his challenge on Gonzalo Jara of Chile moments later…Geiger finally penalized Spain for repeat fouls as Xabi Alonso was cautioned for a poorly-timed challenge on Chile’s Mauricio Isla in the 40th minute…Koke of Spain was also not cautioned for taking out opponent Charles Aranguiz in the 56th minute but Chile’s Eugenia Meda did not go into the books four minutes later for his foul on Sergio Ramos…Geiger added – as what seemed to Chilean players – an excessive six minutes of injury time in an apparent effort to punish Chile for time wasting late in the second half.

June 30, Match 53,  France 2, Nigeria 0A sub-par performance by the Major League Soccer referee who failed to punish several serious fouls by the eventual winners France who were clearly out-played by Nigeria in the first 60 minutes of this match. Geiger failed to award a sure penalty kick in the opening half or punish French players who could do little to contain their quicker and more athletic opponents with late challenges and other deliberate fouls that went unpunished by the American referee….Off the ball on a Nigeria throw-in,  Victor Mosses takes an elbow to the face by Yohan Cabaye of France in the 24th minute in full view of Geiger but no call. It is clear Geiger had spotted the foul as he has words with both players after the offence took place…In the 39th minute Les Bleus’ Patrice Evra puts a full nelson wrestling hold on Peter Odemwingie on a Nigeria corner kick. After the ball goes out of bounds, it is clear Geiger has again spotted this blatant foul but gives both players a warning instead of pointing to the spot and giving Evra a caution or ejection for the offence…In the 49th minute French defender Mathieu Debuchy with a ill-timed late challenge on opponent Juwan Oshaniwa but no call from Geiger again……Blaise Matuidi of France earns the only yellow card of the match in the 54th minute after stepping on the ankle of Ogenyi Onazi who eventually is forced to leave the game five minutes later due to his injury suffered on the play…Goal-line technology is again used to determine that France did not score a 69th minute goal when Nigeria`s Victor Mosses cleared the ball off the line on a French breakaway.

th-2Marco Antonio Rodriguez
Nationality: Mexico
Date of Birth: 10/11/1973

LinesmenMarvin Torrentera, Mexico, 25/02/1971; Marcos Quintero Huitron, Mexico, 21/04/1973

Nicknamed ‘Chiquidracula’ because of his resemblance to the Mexican television version of a young Count Dracula, Rodriguez appears to feast on the emotions and tempers of inexperienced footballers…This card-happy official – who has handed out four red cards in all four of his World Cup matches ahead of Brazil 2014 – should be one of the most feared officials at this year’s tournament. Potty mouth and foul tempered players and coaches, you have been forewarned…At the 2010 World Cup he garnered headlines for his quick red card to Australian Tim Cahill…A former professor of sport. Outside of football, he is currently a protestant priest at a church outside of Mexico City….Last year he was at the centre of a highly public feud with Atlas coach Tomas Boy who called the referee a “liar” in a well-publicized dispute that helped further his reputation as a vigilante-style referee.

Rodriguez at World Cup 2014


Red Cards: 2
Yellow Cards: 6
Fouls: 100
Match 15, June 17, Belgium 2, Algeria 1: Rodriguez came into the game with the reputation as a card-happy referee having handed out four red cards in his previous World Cup matches, but dispelled that notion and gave one of the top performances of the opening round…Correctly awarded a penalty kick and yellow card to Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen after he put his arms around forward Sofiane Feghouli in the penalty area. Feghouli stepped up and converted the penalty kick for the opening goal of the match…Rodriguez exhibited restraint after Belgium cried foul on Mehdi Mostefa’s challenge on Eden Hazard in the 51st minute but the referee correctly awarded the free kick and did not challenge Mostefa. Replays showed that Hazard was looking for the foul and embellished it…Could have shown Vertonghen his second yellow card of the match for his midfield challenge on Feghouli ten minutes later but correctly Rodriguez chose to only award a free kick.

June 24, Match 37, Uruguay 1, Italy 0:  Rodriguez and his crew could easily be deemed negligent at their efforts to maintain order and missed several serious fouls in this must-win, physical confrontation for both teams…The turning point occurred in the 60th minute when Claudio Marchisio of Italy is shown a straight red card for his  knee-high studs up challenge on Egidio Arevalo Rios. Rodriguez immediately reached for the red card as television replays clearly show Marchisio is guilty of the foul….80th minute Rodriguez and his crew miss an apparent bite to the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini by Luis Suarez of Uruguay as the two players jostle for position. The alleged bite was caught by television cameras and Chiellini pulled down his shirt and pointed to his shoulder and showed an unsympathetic Rodriguez the teeth marks. The incident quickly became the talking point of the match and the tournament and Suarez, who has been suspended two previous times for the same offence, could be facing a tournament ban for this latest incident if FIFA decide to act….Uruguay could have just as easily seen a red card for repeat fouls on Chiellini. After first taking an 8th minute elbow to the head from Alvaro Gonzalez which was not spotted by Rodriguez, Chiellini is caught with a second shot to the head after Edinson Cavani delivered a forearm smash to the defender’s face in first half injury time. Rodriguez called this foul but missed others on the rugged defender…Italy withdrew star striker Mario Balotelli at halftime after he picked up a justified yellow card from Rodriguez for high-jumping over the top of opponent Martin Caceres in the 23rd minute and catching him in the head with his cleats…Rodriguez didn’t spot an earlier bookable offence on Balotelli in the 34th minute though when Uruguay defender Diego Godin clattered into the back of Balotelli and delivered an elbow to the striker’s head.

July 8, Match 61, Germany 7, Brazil 1Brazil could have few gripes at the decisions by Rodriguez after their humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat but their opponents Germany certainly could. The German’s concerns with the referee came not only for the harsh fouls by their opponents but for diving and simulation which instead of discipline was met with play on by the referee…With the focus on tactical fouling accusations by German coach Joachim Low ahead of the match, it was the Germans who instead started the match with three quick tactical fouls by Thomas Muller (9 mins) and Miroslav Klose (8 and 10 mins). The gamble paid off as no yellow cards were issued by Rodriguez on any of the fouls which thwarted Brazil’s counter-attack and Muller opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Germany then hammered home four goals in a six-minute span beginning in the 23rd minute on the way to a historical rout over their opponents…Rodriguez could easily be criticized by the victors for failing to hand out yellow cards to Brazil’s Marcelo, who in the 17th minute clearly took a blatant dive after little or no contact from Phillip Lahm and then again a comical attempt at drawing a penalty kick by Maicon on Jerome Boateng…From the opening minutes Rodriguez indicated he would be showing extreme restraint at issuing yellow cards for fouls as well after Dante’s late challenge on Muller in the 9th minute and then again just after the halftime break when he fouled Muller with a similar dangerous challenge… Dante finally earned the first and only yellow card of the match in the 68th minute for his late challenge on Muller…With Germany running up the score to 6-0, Brazil defender David Luiz was also lucky to escape a booking or possible ejection after a scuffle between he and Muller. After a challenge from behind by Muller, a frustrated Luiz turned at his opponent and took a wild swing at the ball in attempt to bean him. With the wild swing at the ball Luiz also nearly ended up clipping the striker in the knee with his outstretched cleat. It was a terrible reaction by Luiz and clearly illustrated his out-of-control reaction to the crushing defeat. This and other fouls by Brazil were cleary worth of a caution at minimum and the hosts were lucky to finish the match with 11 men.

Support Duos

Roberto Moreno Salazar, Panama, 03/04/1974
Eric Boria, United States, 28/10/1974
Walter Lopez, 25/09/1980
Leonel Bermudez, Costa Rica, 21/11/1976

SOUTH AMERICA [CANMEBOL]

(5 trios, 1 support duo)

thEnrique Osses
Nationality: Chile
Date of Birth: 26/05/1974

LinesmenCarlos Alexis Cardenas, Chile, 23/11/1976; Sergio Retamal, Chile, 11/02, 1969

Chile’s top official at this year’s tournament became infamous for his highly publicized gaffe in a 2013 Copa Libertadores match between Nacional of Uruguay and Ecuador’s Barcelona. What was Osses’ offence? He awarded Nacional’s Alejandro Lembo a second yellow card but then failed to send the defender off the field until five minutes later when he finally realized his error…He is also well-known in Chile for his liberal use of red cards. After proceeding with one dismissal during a domestic league match in 2005, Osses was punched in the face by Union Espanola goalkeeper Ignacio Gonzalez after reaching for red…He has officiated Copa Sudamerican, Copa Libertadores and 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Osses at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 4
Fouls: 58
June 14, Match 8, Ivory Coast 2, Japan 1Osses came into the match with a reputation as a ‘card-happy’ referee but seemed to dispel this notion despite some physical play issuing four cautions…We thought Serie Die’s 18th minute foul on the scorer of Japan’s lone goal, Keisuke Honda, would be worthy of a caution but no call here…Ivory Coast had two legitimate penalty-kick appeals denied in the 26th minute when Japan’s Makoto Hasebe handled the ball in his own area and then in the 57th minute Maya Yoshida escaped caution and a possible ejection when he felled the Elephants’ Yaya Toure in his own penalty area but also escaped punishment…Despite a few blips, overall a very impressive effort.

June 20, Match 24, Costa Rica 1, Italy 0:  Osses non-call on a Costa Rican penalty kick appeal will be a black mark on his record at the World Cup this year. In the 43rd minute Giorgio Chiellini clearly tripped Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell in the penalty area but to the disbelief of the Ticos and most of the football world, Osses waved play on…35th minute wrongly awarded a free kick to Daniele de Rossi of Italy who was at fault after hitting opponent Junior Diaz with a high boot…44th minute goal-line technology quickly confirms Bryan Ruiz’ winning goal which hits the underside of the crossbar and bounces down across the goal line…Halftime video captures Italian and Costa Rican players pushing and shoving in the tunnel. FIFA suspensions to come?…Osses correctly turns down a bogus penalty-kick appeal by Mario Balotelli in the 46th minute as Giancarlo Gonzalez clatters into his Italian opponent after clearing the ball…The referee’s ability to protect player safety called into question when Osses fails to penalize Alessio Cerci for smashing Gonzalez in the face with the ball after the whistle sounded in the 88th minute. Gonzalez wasn’t seriously injured but fell to the ground after taking a blistering shot in the head.

th-2Nestor Pitana
Nationality
: Argentina
Date of Birth: 17/06/1975

LinesmenHernan Maidana, Argentina, 14/02/1972; Juan Belatti, Argentina, 15/04/1979

Usually lenient with his cards and discipline, compared to others in his zone, FIFA began to show interest in this young referee when Pitana was invited to a FIFA seminar in Rio de Janeiro in May 2013…That same year Pitana was given the high profile assignment of the Copa Libertadores final between Olimpia Asuncion of Paraguay and Brazilian team Athletico Mineiro in …Officiated several South American World Cup qualifiers including Uruguay’s 2-0 loss to Chile where Pitana and his assistants were criticized for missing a deliberate punch by Uruguay’s Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to the face opponent Gonzalo Jara.

Pitana at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 8
Fouls: 105
Match 17, June 17, Russia1, Korea Republic 1: Handed out an unexpected yellow card for Son Heung-Min of Korea Republic in 13th minute on seemingly accidental clip to the heels of Russian’s Alexander Samedov as Pitana reached for his pocket very quickly… Ki Sung-Yueng of Korea rightly receives a yellow for a reckless 30th minute studs-up tackle on Russia’s Samedov as the play is haulted and Samedov requires medical attention…Looked like Russia equalizing goal in 75th minute was offside as forward Alexander Kokorin stood on the left goal post as Alexander Kerzhakov knocked home the equalizer. All of the Korean defenders raised their arms to alert the linesman to the offence but strangely no flag goes up, Pitana ignores the appeals and the result stands.

June 22, Match 32, Portugal 2, United States 2:  Immediately after Portugal took an early 1-0 lead in the 5th minute on Nani’s goal, this exciting match turned decidedly physical as the U.S. pressed for an equalizer. At 12 minutes Bruno Alves of Portugal takes down Fabian Johnson, 29th minute Ronald commits foul on Matt Besler, 30th minute Eder fouls DeMarus Beasley…The U.S. were also guilty of some harsh fouls as Kyle Beckerman intentionally smashes Portugal’s Raul Moreiles in the jaw with a lower shoulder barge also in the early part of the first half. Pitana failed to discipline Beckerman on the play…The rough stuff continued in the second half as the U.S. were mostly on the receiving end both before and after their equalizing goal….59th minute Nani appears to intentionally step on Michael Bradley’s ankle and then Joao Moutinho is luck to escape without a yellow card after two harsh challenges in the 67th minute on Jermaine Jones and only seconds later on Kyle Beckerman. It is surprising not to see the referee reach for his notebook…Pitana awards the first yellow as Jermaine Jones of U.S. goes into books for reckless slide tackle on Moutinho…Pitana and his crew get it right in allowing Clint Dempsey’s 81st minute goal which gave the U.S. a temporary 2-1 lead, as the U.S. striker was clearly a half-step onside.

June 25, Match 43, Switzerland 3, Honduras 0Pitana lived up to his reputation again as a referee who likes to let the play flow and call few fouls but some of the offences he ignored in this match would been easily been fouls or bookings for others……16th minute leaping up in the Honduras just outside of the penalty area, Maynor Figueroa blocks a Xherdan Shaquiri free kick with his hand in front of his face but no handball call comes…Two minutes later Wilson Palacios of Honduras comes in late on Shaquiri but no foul called on the play…In the 22nd minute a Honduras corner kick by Boniek Garcia appears to strike the hand of defender Valon Behrami but again no call from Pitana…Honduras could feel hard done by Pitana in the second half as the referee turned down penalty kick appeals after Jerry Palacios is bundled over by Djourou. Djourou also took down Jerry Palacios in the 57th minute as the striker looked for a through ball but wasn’t awarded a foul… Pitana awarded the only yellow card of the match in the 66th minute following a clumsy challenge by Jerry Palacios on Fabian Schar near the halfway line…On a 75th-minute Switzerland corner kick defender Jerry Bengston grabs the throat of opponent Stephan Lichsteiner and this offence goes upunished as well….

July 4, Match 56, Germany 1, France 0A nearly spotless performance besides some glaring negligence to punish two Germany players for unsportsmanlike conduct in the form of blatant dives in the France penalty area… Pitana correctly denied three penalty kick appeals in the first half, two by Germany and one by France…Pitana waved play on when Germany’s Miroslav Klose went to ground all too easily after the slightest of tugs to his shirt by French defender Mathieu Debuchy in the 24th minute and again nine minutes later when Thomas Muller attempted to deceive Pitana with an unconvincing dive after little contact from Debuchy. It was disappointing that either of Germany’s feeble attempts to gain an advantage weren’t penalized with a yellow card. Meanwhile Pitana also correctly denied a penalty kick appeal by France when Karim Benzema’s header appeared to strike the arm of Mats Hummels but televison replays clearly showed the ball struck the defender’s mid section…Pitana handed out the first yellow card of the match to Germany’s Sami Khedira in the 54th minute for putting his arms around the neck of a breaking Antoine Griezmann and hauling him down at the halfway line…Bastien Schweinsteiger received the final caution of the match for clipping the heels out Griezmann in the 80th minute…Pitana and crew suffered a blown call in the 70th minute when German substitute Andre Schurrle’s shot appeared to deflect off defender Raphael Varane of France. The correct decision should have been a corner kick but the referee instead ordered a goal kick.

th-4Wilmar Roldan
Nationality
: Colombia
Date of Birth: 24/01/1980

Linesmen: Humberto Prieto, Colombia, 18/07/1973; Eduardo Barrero, Colombia, 10/07/1973

A domestic league official in Colombia since 2003 and a FIFA official since 2008, another young and promising South American referee who will make his World Cup debut…Started refereeing at the age of 14 and his strong personality has seen him compared to legendary referee Javier Castrilli of Argentina….Roldan drew the scorn of many observers during a heated 2011 Copa America clash between Paraguay and Brazil when he failed to show a red card to Brazil’s Jadson…On the flip side he has little tolerance for players diving as Switzerland midfielder Oliver Buff found out in the 78th minute of his team’s contest in the 2012 London Olympics against Gabon when Roldan showed Buff his second yellow card of the match for his weak attempt to draw a penalty kick.

Roldan at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 5
Fouls: 52
June 13, Match 2, Mexico 1, Cameroon 0: Roldan opened the tournament with a questionable performance in Mexico’s 1-0 win over Cameroon. Roldan waived off two consecutive goals by Giovani Dos Santos with offside calls when the El Tri target man was clearly in onside positions on both goals. The decision set off scathing criticism from Mexican fans, their players and coaching staff over how Roldan could have gotten it wrong twice. He also gained a huge share of his votes in our worst referee poll for this decision…. Throughout the match Roldan ignored several studs-up dangerous tackles by both teams failing to administer the standard discipline. 

June 22, Match 31,  Algeria 4, Korea Republic 2: Despite one more controversial call from referee Roldan early he settled into a more consistent game than his lasting outing between Mexico and Cameroon…Algeria had a strong call for a penalty kick  in the 4th minute of play when Kim Young Gwon made a thumping challenge on Algeria’s Sofiane Feghoudi. The only problem? The thumping noise came from Feghoudi’s shin pads and not the ball. Clearly a PK for Algeria…63rd minute: Incorrectly awarded corner kick to Korea and Koo Ja-Cheol Replays showed that the ball clearly touched Koo of Korea but Roldan last but ruled the ball had last touched Djamel Mesbah of Algeria instead…In the third minute of injury time Roldan makes the right call on a penalty kick appeal as Son Heung-Min of Korea’s last-gasp desperation attempt to pull his team within a goal is not answered after the striker appeared to fall all too easily when challenged by Algerian defender Carl Medjani. 

th-5Meira Sandro Ricci
Nationality
: Brazil
Date of Birth: 19/11/1974

LinesmenEmerson De Carvalho, Brazil, 24/06/1972; Marcelo Van Gasse, Brazil, 09/03/1976

Voted Brazil’s top referee in 2010…In a high-profile case in 2010 Brazilian star Neymar was eventually ordered to pay Ricci $8,700 (U.S.) after defaming Ricci on Twitter. Brazil’s star player branded Ricci a “thief” after a match involving his former club Santos….In another incident Ricci made the ghastly mistake of awarding a player a second yellow card but failing to eject the player.

Ricci’s mental meltdown came early on in a domestic match between Brasiliense and Formosa when he failed to send off Formosa defender Kassio who played the entire match. Ricci refused to admit his mistake following the match and claimed he had awarded the first yellow to another defender.

Ricci at the 2014 World Cup

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 9
Fouls: 85
June 15, Match 10, France 3, Honduras 0: Employed the the first ever use of goal-line technology to award a goal at the FIFA World Cup when Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares was judged to have spilled a shot by Karim Benzema into his goal….Handed out the tournament’s second red card when Wilson Palacios of Honduras received his second yellow card of the match after he was judged to have fouled Paul Pogba of France in the penalty area. Ricci made no hesitation in pointing to the spot and issuing Palacios his marching orders…Palacios received his first caution of the match after a nasty confrontation with Mathieu Valbuena. Palacios kneed Valbuena and then stepped on his ankle. His opponent reacted to the challenge by kicking out and was also cautioned. Some observers felt Valbuena should have been ejected for his actions but he only received a yellow card. 

June 21, Match 28, Ghana 2, Germany 2: A second strong performance at the World Cup by Ricci who again, unlike his other peers on this day escaped controversy…Turns down German free-kick appeals in 42nd minute of play after John Boye wins header but clatters through the back of Thomas Muller…Midway through the second half Muller is again on the wrong end of the call as Harrison Afful appears to foul the German striker but Ricci awards the free kick to Ghana instead…Awards first yellow card of the match to Ghana’s Sully Muntari during injury time. Muntari picked up his second yellow card of the tournament and earned automatic one-match suspension after his foul on Toni Kroos…Ricci signals for the final whistle as Muller suffers serious gash on his head after clash of heads with Boyce.

June 30, Match 54, Germany 2, Algeria 1 (extra time): A near flawless performance from referee Ricci in this extra time match dominated by Germany and decided on a 92nd minute strike by Andre Schurrle….The referee from Brazil blew down a total of 20 fouls on Algeria compared to 10 fouls for Germany who enjoyed 67 per cent of ball possession in the match….It took 32 minutes of the match before Germany conceded a foul when Mario Gotze fouled Arabi Soudani while Algeria had been whistled for six fouls at that point… Ricci correctly disallowed a 17th minute goal by Islam Slimani who was in an offside position when he received the ball…Awarded Nigeria’s Rafik Halliche the only yellow card of regulation time for his foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 42nd minute of play…Germany’s Philipp Lahm gets the second yellow card of the match for almost pulling the shorts off of opponent Racine Brahimi in the 107th minute…German penalty kick appeal by Thomas Muller denied as his opponent Mehdi Mostefa clearly puts the grab on the striker whose screams and overemphasised dive on the hold is likely the deciding factor for the referee to wave play on…Repeat offender Bastian Schweinsteiger somehow avoids a caution for his late challenge on Algeria’s Saphir Taider…Algeria coach Vahid Halihodzic is off the bench after a soft foul call on Slimani who Ricci judged to have fouled Benedikt Howedes.

th-6Carlos Vera
Nationality
: Ecuador
Date of Birth: 25/06/1976

LinesmenChristian Guerrero, Ecuador, 07/06/1983; Romero Ibarra, Ecuador, 12/07/1980

An international referee since 2006, Vera has officiated Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Copa America and FIFA World Cup qualifiers…Vera has drawn praise from some observers for his discretion and decision making at using cards to control players during heated matches…We are sure some fans in Ecuador would beg to differ but after an extensive search, there appears to be few knocks against this official and he heads into the tournament with one of the cleanest records of any at the World Cup.

Vera at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 4
Fouls: 69
June 16, Match 13, Iran 0, Nigeria 0: An above-average performance by referee Vera who had some early physical play to contend with in the match including a wild 7th-minute goalmouth scramble where Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel was called for crashing into Iran keeper Alireza Haghighi…He also earned some points for consistency as Vera failed to penalize Iran’s Amithossein Sadeghi for handling the ball in his own penalty area just before the break but later also turned back Iranian requests for a similar handball claim just after the halftime break…Some violent fouls did go unnoticed by Vera and his team who failed to spot a deliberate elbow to the ribs of Super Eagles’ Emmanuel Eminike in the 43rd minute and a stomp to the back heels of Iran’s Sadeghi by opponent Peter Odemwingie in the 87th minute.

June 24, Match 40, Greece 2, Ivory Coast 1: A controversial injury time penalty-kick call by Vera eliminated Ivory Coast from the tournament…Greece striker Andreas Samaras appears to trip over his own feet in the 2nd minute of injury time but on closer review there does appear to be the slightest of touches by Ivory Coast second half substitute Giovani Sio prompting referee Vera to point to the spot. The winning goal is converted by Samaras for the victory, a cruel ending for Ivory Coast’s campaign…This game was a physical clash from the beginning with lots of late slide tackles but Ivory Coast came out on the losing end on many of Vera’s decisions drawing three yellow cards, drawing 23 fouls to Ivory Coast’s 12 as well as the game-deciding spot kick…Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast earns the first yellow card of the match in the 37th minute after losing control of the ball, his footing and sliding into the legs of Samaras…As Ivory Coast presses for their second half equalizer the Elephants’ Salomon Kalou drags down opponent Vasileios Torosidis with a professional foul in the 62nd minute and then teammate Serey Die goes into the books with a similar offence in the 70th minute…The series of fouls seemed to pay off for Ivory Coast when three minutes later Wilfried Bony levelled the score at 1-1 before Vera’s decision ceded victory to Greece. Yellow Cards: 3, Fouls: 35

Support Duo

Victor Hugo Carrillo Casanova, Peru, 30/10/1975
Rodney Ubaldo Aquino Maldonado, Paraguay, 16/04/1984

OCEANIA [OFC]

(1 trio, 1 support duo)

thPeter O’Leary
Nationality: New Zealand
Date of Birth: 03/03/1972

LinesmenJan Hendrik Hintz, New Zealand, 24/06/1976; Ravenish Kumar, Fiji, 24/05/1982

This high school biology teacher who oversees matches in the New Zealand Championship and Australia’s A-League makes his second consecutive World Cup selection but is likely to referee his first game at the tournament at some point in the preliminary round.

Last time out he wasn’t pressed into action and remained on standby and didn’t officiate during the South Africa 2010….O’Leary attained notoriety in 2008 while attending a Premier League match between Sunderland and Aston Villa in Birmingham.

He was called from the stands and pressed into action on the touchline as a fourth official ad thus  inadvertently became the first New Zealander to officiate in an EPL match.

O’Leary at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 2
Fouls: 16
Match 29, June 21, Nigeria 1, Bosnia Herzegovina 0: O’Leary and his crew from New Zealand opened their first match at this year’s World Cup with two highly controversial calls against Bosnia…In the 21st minute his linesman Jan Hendrik Heinz raised his flag and O’Leary called back Edin Dzecko’s goal on offside despite the fact replays clearly showed the Bosnian striker was onside…Bosnia protests another controversial decision by O’Leary as the legs of defender Emir Spahic are clipped out by Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike who then set up Peter Odemwingie’s winning goal in the 29th minute. O’Leary and his crew turn down Bosnia’s pleas for the goal to be disallowed… A physical second half saw some rough play and in the 67th minute O`Leary finally brandished a yellow card to Bosnia’s Mensur Mujdza after his second wild swipe at the legs of Michael Babtunde in moments…One minute later O’Leary chooses not to call a foul as Babtunde is again upended, this time by Bosnia’s Muhamed Besic who also swiped at his opponent, catching him with his cleats…Muhamed Besic somehow escapes a yellow card from O’Leary despite a series of repeat fouls in the 68th, 80th and 87th minute. 

Support Duo

Norbert Hauata, Tahiti, 08/06/1979
Mark Rule, New Zealand, 08/06/1981

EUROPE [UEFA]

(9 trios, 1 support duos)

th-2Felix Brych
Nationality: Germany
Date of Birth: 03/08/1975

LinesmenMark Borsch, Germany, 16/03/1977; Stefan Lupp, Germany, 09/09/1978

Brych was most recently criticized by some for favouring Sevilla in their UEFA Europa League victory over Benfica on May 14… A doctor by profession, this MD began officiating Bundesliga matches in 2004 and was awarded his FIFA badge in 2007…In October of 2013 Brych was at the centre of Bayer Leverkusen’s infamous ghost goal, scored through the side netting in a Bundesliga match against Hoffenheim. Despite protests of Hoffenheim players and coaching staff Stefan Kiessling’s goal was aloud to stand.

A 90 minute tribunal by Bundesliga officials in Frankfurt acknowledged Brych’s mistake but said the referee’s decision could not be reversed….In October 2011, Brych also made headlines for his controversial sending off of Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic in their Champions League Group C match Otelul Gelati of Romania.

Brych at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 6
Fouls: 61
June 14, Match 6, Costa Rica 3, Uruguay 1: Handed out the first red card of the tournament in injury time of the Tico’s upset victory after Maxi Pereira of Uruguay took out the legs of Costa Rican Joel Campbell near his opponents’ right corner flag. Brych was justified in his decision as television replays clearly showed the brutality of Pereira’s challenge…Brych waived off penalty kick appeals and chose to ignore a blatant hand ball in the penalty area by Uruguay’s Diego Lugano, whose outstretched hands thwarted a Costa Rican scoring opportunity. The offence could easily have been the tournament’s first red card although some observers claim that Lugano was pushed into the ball by an opponent…Showed too much leniency towards several harsh fouls during the match including a horrific flying two-footed tackle by Uruguay’s Martin Cerceres on Costa Rica’s Campbell in the 81st minute. The offence likely did much to push Brych to reach for red on Pereira’s injury time ejection.

June 22, Match 30, Belgium 1, Russia 0: A balanced and fair match from Brych who had a near perfect game…9th minute Toby Alderwireld of Belgium makes dangerous challenge on Russia’s Maksim Kanunnikov and Brych is quick to whistle down the high boot for dangerous play but doesn’t issue a card…A rare moment of controversy for Brych in this match as he waves off penalty-kick appeals when Alderweireld appears to trip Russian opponent Kanunnikov in the penalty area…Rightly breaks out a yellow card and sends the message that high boots won’t be tolerated when he cautions Russia’s Denis Glushakov for his dangerous play against Dries Martens in the 39th minute…After numerous repeat fouls Alderweireld finally goes into the books with a yellow card after taking down his opponent Kanunnikov again in the 83rd minute.

thCuneyt Cakir
Nationality: Turkey
Date of Birth: 23/11/1976

LinesmenBahattin Duran, Turkey, 26/09/1975; Tarik Ongun, Turkey, 03/02/1973

An experienced official known for letting play run, Cakir won’t stand any nonsense such as time wasting, verbal descent or unsportsmanlike conduct…Cakir drew the ire of Manchester United fans when he produced a red card against Nani for the midfielders’ studs-up, karate-style challenge to the ribs of Real Madrid midfielder Alvero Arbeloa in their Champions League quarter-final match in March 2013…Most observers – including former Irish international Roy Keane and RedCardTheRef – backed Cakir`s decision to send off Nani… An insurance broker by trade in his native Istanbul, Cakir began refereeing Turkish Super Lig matches in 2001 and became one of the nation’s first professional referees…Became a FIFA referee in 2006…Cakir was also responsible for the sending off of Chelsea captain John Terry in a 2012 Champions League match against Barcelona.

Cakir at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 11
Fouls: 75


Match 16, June 17, Brazil 0, Mexico 0: It was Surprising we didn’t see more yellow cards and possibly red in this chippy match-up but Cakir stuck to the tone and trend of restraint so far at the tournament but maybe too much so…He did somehow manage to keep emotions from boiling over in this highly charged match…Dani Alves could have received yellow or worse from Cakir for his late tackle on Guardado in the 13th minute and a similar offence on Miguel Layun in the 36th minute could have been a bookable offence…Thiago’s Silva’s lunging two-footed challenge on Javier Hernandez could have easily seen Brazil reduced to ten men but Cakir decided only to produce  yellow…He closed the match by correctly denying a penalty kick to Brazil’s Marcelo in the 89th minute after he made a meal of a subtle tug on his shirt by Raul Jimenez.

June 26, Match 48, Algeria 1, Russia 1: Although supporters of Russia might be more critical of his efforts after a game-deciding free-kick call by Cakir in the 59th minute and some other blips and bloopers, the referee from Turkey had a competent outing in final Group H action…In the 28th minute one of the bigger blips occurs when Cakir accidentally (we hope) charged into Victor Fayzulin during an Ageria rush but thankfully his teammates intercept the ball…40th minute Djamel Mesbah holds back Alexander Kerhakov to earn the first yellow card of the match…Russia’s Dmitry Kombarov is also booked for impeding Sofiane Feghouli in the 57th minute…A yellow card to Russia’s Alexei Kozlov of Russia for a foul on Abdelmoumene Djabou which set up the tying goal by Slimani of Turkey on the resulting free kick. Russia protested the foul on Kozlov because Djabou could have easily been called for holding back Kozlov himself when a scuffle for the ball began. Later coach Capello would also protest to FIFA as a fan from the stands flashed a laser light in the eyes of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, but there was little or nothing Cakir could do about this…Cakir correctly denies Russia’s 66th minute penalty-kick appeal as the contact by Esseid Belkalem seemed minimal if any…Cakir closes out the match with two yellow cards. One was displayed to Russia’s Dmitry Kombarov for his late challenge on Nabil Ghilas in the 87th minute. The final one of the match went to the Algeria bench in injury time as unused substitute Liassine Cadauro went into Cakir’s notebook for dissent. 

July 9, Match 62, Argentina 0, Netherlands 0 (Argentina wins 4-2 on penalty kicks): A strong effort by the referee from Turkey and his crew through 120 minutes with the only possible blackmark, some questions surrounding forward motion by Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero on two game-deciding penalty kick saves. It was a slow start to the match with three early fouls by the Netherlands and Argentina not registering its first foul until the 36th minute when Martin Dimichelis took a wicked swing to the shin guards of Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder  …With the correct amount of discipline shown, it took Cakir 44 minutes to issue his first caution of the match for repeat fouling by Bruno Martins Indi who also blatantly impeded the progress of Argentina striker Lionel Messi in the 38th minute as well…The play and fouls intensified towards the end of the opening half and after the break as both sides struggled to break the deadlock…Demichelis was issued a yellow card in the 49th minute for grabbing the arm of Arjen Robben, with the striker going to ground at the top Albicelestes’ penalty area…Holland appeared to dodge two cards with some harsh challenges midway through the second half which only resulted in free kicks from a very lenient Cakir. Daryl Janmaat was extremely lucky not to receive yellow or even a red card after losing control of the ball and sliding studs up into the knees of Argentina’s defender Lucas Biglia in the 61st minute. The wet conditions thoughout the match contributed to the force of the nasty collision which left Biglia on the ground for two minutes…Then 11 minutes later a clumsy challenge along the touchline by Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar could have easily led to a caution as well…As in all of the Netherlands matches at the tournament thus far, Arjen Robben continued to draw fouls for the slightest while grossly overemphasizing the physical contact against him. While his chronic unsportsmanlike behaviour went unpunished by Cakir on at least two occasions, Argentina resentment reached the boiling point in the 86th minute when Dimichelis became the target of an unconvincing ploy by Robben to draw a foul. As Demichelis cleared the ball for a corner kick, Robben then clattered into his opponent and fell to the ground drawing a scornful reaction from the defender and a visual appeal to Cakir for a yellow card…Cakir looked as if he had become fed up by Robben’s well-known antics in the 103rd minute when the slightest of touches by Pablo Zabaletta saw Robben overemphasize and the referee wave play on…Klaas Jan Huntelaar earned the Netherland’s second yellow and third card of the match just moments before the first extra time break for a late slide tackle on Maschereno 35 yards from the Dutch goal…On Holland’s first and third penalty kicks television replays showed Romero moved early, albeit only slightly, with in an illegal forward direction on both. Firstly Romero stopped Vlaar after making a subtle forward motion slightly before the ball was struck and then again he thwarted Wesley Sneijder with a unpunished two footed hop off of his line stopping his opponent.

thJonas Eriksson
Nationality
: Sweden
Date of Birth: 28/03/1974

LinesmenMathias Klasenius, Sweden, 25/04/1974; Daniel Waernmark, Sweden, 30/12/1974

Sweden’s ‘laid-back millionaire referee’ made his fortune after selling his shares in Swedish media rights business IEC and has continued to officiate matches across Europe despite his riches. He recently stated in and interview with goal.com that “all the money hasn’t changed anything.”…Was blasted by Manchester City manager Manuel Pellgrini after the Citizens’ UEFA Champions League loss to Barcelona this season. The Chilean manager told the press after the match that Eriksson lacked the experience to officiate a high-profile match because he was from Sweden…His first major international tournament was Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Eriksson at FIFA World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 10
Fouls: 101
June 16, Match 14 United States 2, Ghana 1: An abysmal first half from Eriksson who missed several bookable offences…Ghana escaped certain cards for fouls against United States midfielder Kyle Beckerman who was first taken out from behind first in the 25th minute by Jordan Ayew and then again just before the halftime when he was felled by a red-card-worthy horror tackle by Sully Muntari…Eriksson should have also cautioned John Boye when his dangerous play and raised leg which made contact with United States’ striker Clint Dempsey’s head. Dempsey suffered a broken nose on the play…Eriksson recovered with a much more stable second half but should have done a better job of protecting player safety in the opening half

June 23, Match 25, Brazil 4, Cameroon 1: In a match that was essentially meaningless for already Cameroon, referee Eriksson chose restraint over discipline for the most part electing to punish many players with verbal warnings instead of bookings for serious fouls and handed out just three cautions…Cameroon’s Henri Bedimo was lucky to escape a yellow card or sending off for his horse-collar tackle on Hulk in the first few minutes of play…He also chose not to book Alan Nyom whose two handed out-of-bounds shove from behind nearly sent Brazilian star Neymar creating into the row of photographers behind the goal…At the end of the opening half, Brazilian defender David Luiz was also escaped a booking for a professional foul on Cameroon’s Eyong Enoh just outside the penalty area…49th minute controversy as Brazil’s Fred appears to be in an offside position when he scores Brazil’s third goal of the match on a cross from David Luiz. Despite the arms raised by Cameroon defenders Eriksson and his crew allows the goal…In the 74th minute Eriksson allows Brazil’s Luiz to steamroll Landry N’Guemo with a brutal challenge from behind deciding not to blow his whistle. Then on the same play awards a yellow card to Edgar Salli of Cameroon who leaves his foot in on Dani Alves who cleared the ball away after Luiz’ unpunished foul.

July 1, Match 55, Argentina 1,  Switzerland 0 (extra time): The millionaire referee called his best of his three matches so far at the World Cup in a chippy battle that required extra time for Argentina to break a 0-0 deadlock…Eriksson whistled Switzerland for 29 fouls to Argentina’s 18 while the South Americans went into the books three times compared to two yellow cards for their rivals from Europe…Granit Xhaka of Switzerland was first to go into the referee’s notebook for his body check on Ezequiel Lavezzi at the midfield stripe..His teammate Gelson Fernandes also saw a yellow card in the 73rd minute for a brutal takedown of Angel Di Maria…As the intensity of the match and chances for both teams increased in the final minutes so did the cards. Albicelestes’ Marcos Rojo will miss his team’s quarter-final match after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament for a horrific challenge on Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland in the 90th minute. The foul easily could have drawn a red card…With a 1-0 lead Argentina hung on in the final three minutes of play and picked up two yellow cards with the goal scorer Di Maria going into the books for his foul on Rodriguez in the 120th minute and Ezequiel Garay earning a yellow card for dissent after arguing Eriksson’s last-second foul call for Garay’s challenge on Xherdan Shaqiri at the top of the Argentina penalty area…There were a few flaws the referee’s performance including two no calls during a wild goalmouth scramble in the 78th minute which saw Argentina’s Lionel Messi catching Stephan Lichsteiner with a late foul and Diego Benaglio stepping on top of Switzerland goalkeeper Benaglio Palacio. Eriksson chose to ignore both offences and instead to the disbelief of Switzerland awarded Argentina a corner kick…A clumsy moment in the 105th minute from the referee who draws some harsh words from Shaqiri for thwarting a Switzerland rush after stepping in front of the ball and then obstructing the striker as his team losses possession of the ball. 

thBjorn Kuipers
Nationality
: Netherlands
Date of Birth: 28/03/1973

LinesmenSander Van Roekel, Netherlands, 28/03/1974; Erwin Zeinstra, Netherlands, 31/03/1977

As a player Kuipers admits he spent too much time criticizing match officials and was a “player every referee would hate” observed the blog World Referee… Following in the footsteps of his father, who was also a referee, Kuipers is one of only three Dutchmen to officiate in Europe’s elite tournaments…Took charge of the 2014 all-Spanish UEFA Champions League final between Atletico Madrid and champion Real Madrid and did an admirable job. But his performance wasn’t without controversy either. Atletico coach Diego Simeone was eventually charged by UEFA for two pitch invasions during extra time, once to confront Kuipers and a second time verbally abuse opponent Raphael Varane. Despite a near-flawless performance by Kuipers, Simeone’s behaviour raises questions about the referee and his ability to administer the proper discipline…He has also been roundly criticized by some for his highly liberal interpretation of the offside rule whereby players in the six yard box are often ruled by Kuipers not to be interfering with play and thus he allows goals which many referees would deny…In his private life Kuipers owns three grocery stores and a hair salon in his native Holland.

Kuipers at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 5
Fouls: 82
June 14, Match 7, Italy 2, England 1: A generally strong performance by one of Europe’s top referees with only a few negatives to mention….Kuipers turned down Italy’s claims for a penalty in the 7th minutes as England’s Glen Johnson handled the ball in his own penalty area…Also waived play on after England’s claims for a PK in the 50th minute as Giorgio Chiellini’s not so subtle chop to the legs of Daniel Welbeck was clearly captured on television replays…It took Kuipers 92 minutes to issue his first yellow card, which went to England’s Raheem Sterling for a foul on Italy’s Alessandro Pirlo.

June 20, Match 25, France 5, Switzerland 2: The harsh reality in this match is that Kuipers and his crew follow the trend of mocking FIFA’s dangerous play rule. Early on in the 7th minute as Steve Von Bergen of Switzerland catches a high boot in the face from Olivier Giroud of France but Kuipers decides not to book or send Giroud off for the offence…30th minute Switzerland denied an obvious corner kick as French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris comes up with a finger tips save by Xherdan Shaqiri but Kuipers wrongly signals for a goal kick…One minute later the Swiss protest as Karim Benzema is awarded a questionable penalty kick after minimal contact from Johan Djourou…Mathieu Valbuena of France appears to be in an offside position as Giroud receives ball just over the half on a rush which leads on France’s third goal in the 40th minute….Kuipers signals for full-time rubbing out an injury-time wonder strike by Karim Benzema of France.

June 28, Match 50, Second Stage, Colombia 2,  Uruguay 0: The stronger of the two referee performances on Match Day 16 by the official from the Netherlands however Kuipers again showed us his overly-liberal interpretation of the offside rule…Colombia’s Teofilo Gutierrez is clearly in an offside position on his team’s second goal by virtue being behind the last defender before the cross is played.  Video replay shows Gutierrez standing in the six yard box behind the last man and also in close enough proximity to the cross to goal scorer James Rodriguez to be interfering with play. Thus there is no question Colombia’s second goal should have been disallowed but we have seen this interpretation of the offside rule by Kuipers before, who seems to feel only the player who receives the ball can be offside…Kuipers handed out three yellow cards during the match and all seemed justified… Guitierrz had his feet swept under him by Jose Gimenez of Uruguay who was cautioned in the 55th minute…Two yellow cards are handed out by Kuipers during a flashpoint in the 77th minute. The first to Pablo Armero of Colombia who attempts to halt play by standing in front of a Uruguay free kick after suffering a cramp. Gaston Ramirez of Uruguay should have gone into the books for taking the kick and intentionally blasting the ball into Armero,  but instead his teammate Diego Lugano is issued a yellow card by Kuipers for dissent while sitting on the substitutes bench.

thMilorad Mazic
Nationality
: Serbia
Date of Birth: 23/03/1973

LinesmenMilovan Ristic, Serbia, 01/05/1974; Dalibor Djurdjevic, Serbia, 25/03/1973

He became a FIFA match official in 2009 but has only recently been categorized as one of Europe’s elite referees. his inexperience may hold him back at this year’s tournament…Did a solid job when he took charge of Chelsea’s first-leg defeat to Paris Saint Germain in UEFA Champions League Quarter-final action on April 2…Was praised for his work in Manchester United’s Group Stage match against Braga in October 2012. The occasion also marked the return of Serbian referees to top-flight football in the aftermath of the region’s lengthy civil war…In the build-up to the World Cup, Mazic professed his support for FIFA’s adjustment to Law 11, the offside rule, as pertaining to backpasses stating “Maybe it’s a little bit harder for the assistants, but it’s better for football.”

Mazic at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 3
Fouls: 40
June 16, Match 12, Germany 4, Portugal 0: Flashed the third red card of the tournament to Portugal’s Pepe after a foul and then headbutt to the face of Germany’s Thomas Muller in the 37th minute during the main flashpoint of the match. Whether Pepe actually head-butted Mueller is debatable and some called Mazic’s response to the offence an overreaction which changed the course of the match…Awarded a controversial penalty kick to Germany for their opening goal of the match after Portugal’s Joao Pereira was ruled to have fouled Mario Goetze in the penalty area. Television replays clearly showed both players had a firm hold on each other and it looked as though Goetze had bundled over Pereira instead….Failed to punish Germany’s Mats Hummels for dangerous slide tackle on Hugo Almeida which forced the Portuguese midfielder out of the game in the 26th minute…Turned down appeals for a penalty kick by second half substitute Eder after he is tripped in the box by German defender Benedikt Howede.

June 21, Match 27, Argentina 1, Iran 0: Controversy and outrage from Iran in the 55th minute as Ashkan Dejagah is taken down from behind in the penalty area by Pablo Zabaleta but Mazic waves play on. Dejagah makes a wild protest and actually makes physical contact with the referee but is not cautioned. He complains for several minutes after the penalty kick appeal is denied…There were some other errors of note by Mazic as he signalled for a goal kick instead of a corner kick for Argentina as a 50-50 ball appeared to touch Iran’s Pejman Montazeri instead of Marcos Rojo on its way out of bounds…Mazic also thwarted two Iran rushes by inadvertently blocking passes. First in the 18th minute he broke up an upfield rush by Dejagah by standing in the path of the ball and making contact and then again in the 74th minute he thwarted a clearance helping Argentina regain possession when he broke up Javad Nekounam`s forward pass with his back heel…25th minute Mazic fails to caution Sergio Aguero who knocked over the corner flag in frustration forcing the referee halt play to fix the problem…Several repeat fouls by both teams went unpunished but Mazic finally breaks out the first yellow card in the 53rd minute after a foul by Javad Nekounam of Iran on Fernando Gago while teammate Masoud Shojaei also saw the game’s only other caution in the 71st minute on Angel Di Maria.

th-2Pedro Proenca
Nationality
: Portugal
Date of Birth: 03/11/1970

LinesmenBertino Miranda, Portugal, 18/05/1972; Jose Tiago Garcias Bolinhas Trigo, Portugal, 02/07/1972

This 43-year-old battle-hardened financial adviser from Lisbon is a two-time winner of Portugal’s top refereeing award. He will brandish cards quickly if his authority is questioned…Suffered two broken teeth after being attacked by an enraged Benfica fan at a Lisbon shopping mall in 2011. He later took to social media to assure his followers he would not be affected by the incident…Proenca began officiating at the age of 18 in 1988. He first took charge of Portuguese league matches ten years later in 1998…Has also overseen several high-profile matches including the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final and the 2012 European Cup final, becoming the first Portuguese referee to take charge of both championships in the same year…Came under fire from Benfica fans in 2009 for awarding a controversial penalty kick to Porto’s Lisandro Lopez who was later suspended for diving on the play.

Proenca at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 1
Yellow Cards: 6
Fouls: 69
June 18, Match 20, Croatia 4, Cameroon 0: A straight red card in the 40th minute to Alex Song of Cameroon decided the outcome of this match. Proenca was completely justified in sending Song off after replays clearly showed his deliberate elbow to opponent Mario Mandzukic who was obstructing his path upfield…Proenca had let some of the rough physical tactics of the Indomitable Lions go early in the match including Cameroonian Stephane M’bia’s wrestling hold and takedown of Mandzukic in the 6th minute, Eyong Enoh’s brutal cleat stamp to the feet of Croatia’s Darijo Srna in the 29th minute of play..Moments before the sending off Nicolas N’Koulou’s deliberate encroachment of Mandzukic on his throw in and then pushing his opponent to the ground after he released the ball also went unpunished and showed Croatia’s opponents were mentally unprepared to play this match.…Proenca correctly turned down Cameroon’s appeals for offside on Mandzukic’ second goal of the match in the 73rd minute, the only debatable call in the second half.

June 24, Match 39, Colombia 4, Japan 1A solid effort from referee Proenca as Colombia almost doubled Japan in total fouls by 19-11 but came out with a lop-sided victory in this match…Proenca flashed a yellow card at Japan’s Yasuyuki Konno in the 15th minute and awarding Colombia a penalty kick after Adrian Ramos was brought down inside Japan`s area with Juan Cuardrado converting for the goal…Instead of awarding Konno his second yellow card of the game – which would have been harsh – or awarding a free kick after he tripped Juan Quintero at the top of the Japan penalty area in first half injury time, Proenca elected to late play continue. Japan stole the ball back, rushed to the other end of the field scoring their only goal of the match in spectacular fashion on a header from Shinji Okajaki…In the 63rd minute, Freddy Guarin earns Colombia`s only yellow card after he appeared to win the ball from Shinji Kagawa and protested the caution from Proenca…As Colombia begins to run away with the match Proenca correctly denies Yoshito Okubu a penalty kick for an obvious dive after little or no contact from Colombia Eder Balanta in the 69th minute.

June 29, Match 51, PEDRO PROENCA (Portugal), Netherlands 2, Mexico 1We can’t give referee Proenca a good review due to his glaring errors on two legitimate penalty kick appeals by both teams. The decisions changed the outcome of the match and were missed by the referee form Portugaland his assistants. However, Proenca’s final decision to award Netherlands their game-deciding penalty kick in injury time was the right one…In the 20th minute Mexico’s Hector Herrera attempted to control the ball in the Netherlands penalty area but was clearly kicked in the head by Ron Vlaar as the defender cleared the ball away. The correct decision would have been a penalty kick and a red card for Vlaar but as has been the theme, referees at this tournament continue to ignore high boots and the serious risks of head injuries and concussion…Moments before halftime Netherlands striker Arjen Robben dribbled into the box towards goal and was clearly tripped up by Rafael Marquez and then also became the victim of a late challenge by Hector Moreno who was injured on the play. To the disbelief of the Dutch, Proenca waved play-on and denied the penalty-kick appeals….Proenca finally got it right in the second minute of injury time when Robben was tripped again by Marquez as he dribbled the ball to the goal line and then cut towards the goal. Fierce protest from El-Tri and their fans as video review clearly shows that Robben over-accentuated the foul but the call was the right decision as he was clearly tripped on the play…Intense heat and humidity in Fortaleza forced two water breaks in the 30th and 75th minutes which precipitated the six extra minutes of injury time at the end of the match…In the 57th minute goal-line technology was used to determine Netherlands’ Stefan de Vrij did not score a goal when his shot was deflected onto the post by Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. The technology backed up the ruling by Proenca that the ball did not cross the line.

th-4Nicola Rizzoli
Nationality
: Italy
Date of Birth: 05/10/1971

LinesmenRenato Faverani, Italy, 25/11/1969; Andrea Stefani, Italy, 15/10/1969

An architect by profession, Rizzoli has been refereeing in the Serie A since 2002, and listed as a FIFA official since 2002…He was moved to tears after after blowing the final whistle in the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Bayern and Dortmund. Later in the locker room he was congratulated for his performance in the match by countryman and refereeing legend Pierluigi Collina…In the 2010 UEFA Champions League quarter-final, Rizzoli sent off Red Devils’ right fullback Rafael for a second bookable offence…Drew a scathing criticism by former referee turned Daily Mail columnist Graham Poll for his calls in England`s Euro 2012 clash with France but the criticism revealed more about Poll’s pro-England bias (which surely impacted his calls in the EPL) and less about Rizzoli’s abilities as a referee.

Rizzoli at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 10
Fouls: 105
June 13, Match 3, Netherlands 5,  Spain 1Rizzoli was forced to contend with physical play in this match but failed to eject or caution Spain’s Diego Costa for a deliberate head butt to Holland’s Bruno Martin’s in the 54th minute. The offence should have also led to a red card but Rizzoli failed to punish Costa… He also awarded a highly questionable 25th-minute penalty kick to Spain ruling that Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij had fouled Costa. But it was clear that Costa dove on the play and went to ground deliberately as Rizzoli awarded the spot kick… Rizzoli also missed a foul on Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas who was body blocked by Holland’s Robin van Persie in the 64th minute as de Vrij got on the end of the cross scoring Holland’s third goal of the match in their 5-1 demolition of the defending champions. Instead Rizzoli awarded Casillas with the only yellow card of the match for protesting the decision. 

June 25, Match 41, Argentina 3, Nigeria 2: Lots of clutch-and-grab and poorly-timed challenges in this one as the referee’s foul and the caution totals should have been much greater … In the 19th minute Emmanuel Emenike complains to Rizzoli that he was held back by Argentina’s Pablo Zabaleta as no foul is called; 37th minute Argentina’s Javier Mascherano is called for a two-handed hold on opponent Emenike; At least Rizzoli gets points for consistency for calling a similar hold by John Obi Mikel on Kenneth Omeruo in the 43rd minute…Nigeria is awarded two quick yellow cards to start the second half. The first coming in the 48th minute for a mistimed challenged by Omeruo on Argentina’s Ezequeil Lavezzi and three minutes later Juwon Oshaniwa is cautioned for his late, lunging foul on Fernando Gago…67th minute Nigeria’s Peter Odemwingie gets a warning and is lucky not to be booked for his follow through on Mascherano…89th minute Argentina’s Ricardo Albarez is cleaned out with a late challenge from Oshaniwa but Rizzoli waves play and fails to issue a caution even after play is halted with both players lying on the ground suffering from the collision.

July 5, Match 59, Argentina 1, Belgium 0Rizzoli did a masterful job of maintaining order throughout the match despite mounting desperation by Belgium to erase Gonzalo Higuain’s 8th minute goal…. Eden Hazard of Belgium earned the first yellow card of the match in the 53rd minute after a wild swing and raised boot at the ankle of opponent Lucas Biglia…Biglia was again the victim of a harsh challenge 14 minutes later, this time by Toby Alderweireld who can consider himself fortunate for not being ejected from the match after raising his boot and making contact with his opponent’s knee…Biglia received his own yellow card in the 74th minute after a late challenge on Jan Vertonghen to the top right of the Argentina penalty area setting up a dangerous free kick by the Red Devils…Belgium defender Vincent Kompany was lucky not to go into Rizzoli’s note book for a late slide tackle on Ezequiel Lavezzi in the 59th minute. Luckily for Kompany, Rizzoli correctly ruled that the defender did make slight contact with the ball before bundling into Lavezzi…The Albicelestes’ patience with the referee from Italy begins to wear thin as Axel Witsel appears to trip up substitute Enzo Perez in the 62nd minute inside the Belgium penalty area but Rizolli waves play on…Argentina star striker Lionel Messi escaped discipline in the 19th minute after kneeing Witsel in the back during a challenge for a high ball…Rizzoli failed to award a free kick to Belgium in the 28th minute for Messi’s late challenge on Vertonghen…As has been the trend at the tournament Rizzoli refused to caution players for dives, simulation and feigning injury. The referee correctly waived play on but failed to caution Belgium’s Daniel van Buyten for his futile attempt to win a free kick – one of the worst at the tournament – in the second minute of injury time. 

July 13, Match 64, Final, Germany 1, Argentina 0 (extra time): Referee Rizzoli closed out his World Cup campaign with a solid performance in Sunday‘s championship match, although both the victors and the vanquished could take issue with many of the Serie A referee’s decisions. A bloodied and bruised Bastien Schweinsteiger would have the biggest case against Rizzoli after dangerous play by Argentina late in the match. However the battle-hardened German midfielder was also fortunate not to see two yellow cards and a red himself for his physical play…Ahead of the match some had criticized the decision to let Rizzoli officiate the match since he had already officiated Argentina in two previous matches at the 2014 World Cup and some even claimed that he had favoured the South Americans in both previous matches. For the most part, Rizzoli used the correct balance of discipline and restraint to keep control of a feisty World Cup final which was eventually decided by Mario Gotze’s 113th-minute goal…The physical play would gradually escalate as the match progressed into extra time but Rizzoli managed to keep tempers from completely boiling over throughout the match…Rizzoli issued two yellow cards to Germany in the opening half. Schweinsteiger earned the first caution of the match in the 29th minute for his foul on Ezequiel Lavezzi while Benedikt Howedes also saw a yellow for his challenge on Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta four minutes later….Rizzoli’s effort definitely wasn’t flawless as he as his crew failed to spot an intentional shoulder to the head of Germany’s Christoph Kramer by defender Ezequiel Garay in the 18th minute of play. The Argentina defender intended to injure Kramer on the play, and succeeded, as he clearly ran his shoulder squarely into his opponent’s head but the referee and his linesman failed to make a call. Reports surfaced during the match that Kramer had suffered a head injury…. From the blooper reel, in the sixth minute Rizzoli stepped in the way and blocked a pass by Toni Kroos but Germany managed to recover possession…Controversy to open the second half as Rizzoli denies a penalty-kick appeal by Germany in the 54th minute after Zabaleta caught Andre Schurrle with a late tackle inside the area but the referee waived play on…The game took a decidedly physical turn in the 56th minute when Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer punched away a ball at the edge of his penalty area but then slammed knee first into the head of Gonzalo Higuain with his knee. It was a horrific collision and Higuain remained down for several minutes as the keeper was judged to have challenged for the ball legally. Replays of the incident however seem to indicate clear intent by Neuer to also take out his opponent who had his back turned to the goalkeeper… Within eight minutes of the Neuer-Higuain collision, Argentina clearly seemed out for retribution and picked up two quick yellow cards less than a minute apart for dangerous challenges.  In the 64th minute Javier Maschereno would go into the books for a deliberately late challenge on Miroslav Klose followed by Sergio Aguero’s yellow card for similar offence on Schweinsteiger only seconds later…Germany’s midfielder general, Schweinsteiger, would become the target of Argentina in the extra time period. After taking a high boot to the head from substitute Rodrigo Palacio in the 95th minute, he would then be on the receiving end of a late two-footed lunge by Mascherano. Mascherano somehow escaped earning his second yellow card of the match for the brutal challenge. In the 107th minute Schweinsteiger was the victim of a simultaneous two-player slide tackle by Mascherano and Lucas Biglia. Schweinsteiger suffered a large cut under his right eye after a deliberate smash to the face by Sergio Aguero…With all of the abuse to Schweinsteiger weighing in his mind, referee Rizzoli likely cut the midfielder a break after his slide tackle on Lionel Messi at the top of the Germany penalty area in the 122nd minute should have been an automatic second yellow card and ejection….As Argentina pressed for the elusive equalizer, Schweinsteiger was smashed in a wicked collision at midfield with Pablo Zabaleta right as Rizzoli whistled for full time.

thCarlos Velasco Carballo
Nationality
: Spain
Date of Birth: 16/03/1971

LinesmenRoberto Alonso Fernandez, Spain, 18/09/1976; Juan Carlos Uste Jimenez, Spain, 25/09/1975

Has officiated Spanish La Liga and international matches since 2008…Quit his job as an industrial engineer in 2010 to concentrate fully on refereeing…Created an uproar in the opening match of Euro 2012 with a shock first-half red card for Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos against Poland in the tournament’s opening match…Unlike many Spanish referees, Carballo does not blow down every foul and is praised by many for letting matches reach their potential by playing the advantage and letting the play flow…He took charge of the 2011 Europa League final clash between Porto and Sporting Braga…Also oversaw the 2011 Champions League first leg semi-final between Manchester United and Schalke and won praise for his performance in the match…Strikers may want to go light on the embellishment when Carballo is in charge as he is said not to fall for diving and trickery.

Carballo at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 8
Fouls: 110
June 19, Match 22, Uruguay 2, England 1: A decent opening effort from Carballo in a physical match and while he certainly allowed the play to flow there were some issues with a few of his decisions….Awarded a questionable free kick to Uruguay in the 33rd minute after minimal contact from England’s Daniel Sturrdge and Steven Gerrard as they fought for control of the ball with Uruguay’s Cristian Rodriguez…Uruguay forward Luis Suarez takes out the legs of Daniel Welbeck in the 40th minute but no call or caution from Carballo…In the 55th minute Welbeck slides cleats first into Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera catching him in the knees but oddly no discipline from Carballo on the play…58th minute, a potential leg-breaker as Leighton Baines also escapes caution after raising his boot and making contact with the Martin Caceres but no call from Carballo…78th minute Sturridge is bowled over in the penalty area by Alvaro Pereira but penalty kick appeals are denied by the referee.

June 25, Match 42, Bosnia-Herzegovina 3, Iran1: A must win Group F match for Iran saw a physical opening half of play with 20 fouls but no yellow cards from referee Carballo… The referee was forced to halt play briefly in the 16th minute to warn Iran coach Carlos Queiroz for his complaints over the aggressive nature of play by his opponents…In the 25th minute goal-line technology was used to determine that a shot by Iran’s Massoud Shojaei had bounced down off the crossbar onto the outside of the goal line…Muhamed Besic is warned by Carballo in the 41st for a late challenge and his repeat fouls on opponent Masoud Shojaei which also included a hand to the face in the 30th minute…Carballo quickly settles down a 60th minute flashpoint without any cautions. He awards a free kick when Iran’s Andranki Timotian knocks over Besic with a clear shoulder barge which led to a brief but heated pushing and shoving match on the touchline…Carballo finally pulls out a yellow card for Besic in the 78th minute after a terrible challenge on Pejman Montazeri which could have easily been a red card…Karim Ansari Fard of Iran issued a yellow card after after Carballo was unconvinced by his attempt to draw a penalty kick in the 88th minute.

July 4, Match 57 – Brazil 2, Colombia 1Mistakes and inconsistency should surely come back to haunt referee Carballo for future selection at the World Cup after a highly-suspect performance in Brazil’s quarter-final victory over their South American rivals from the north…The referee from Spain almost unwittingly set up Brazil’s second goal of the match after mass-confusion ensued on a Colombia free kick following a foul by Fernandinho on James Rodriguez in the 24th minute. As players pushed, shoved, argued and stood in front of the ball, Carballo blew his whistle after and not before the restart. Colombia’s Victor Ibarbo then thought the play had stopped and gave the ball away leading to a dangerous Brazil breakaway… Ten minutes later Carballo wrongly awarded Brazil a corner kick after Maicon’s clearance clearly did not touch defender Ibarbo before it was out of bounds…Unpunished diving and simulation dominated the match with Thiago Silva’s late challenge on Colombia’s Adrian Ramos a prime example of why such behaviour needs to be punished. Silva deserved a card not only for being late but a second one and possible red card for trying to deceive the referee and pretending he was hurt on the play. He immediately returned to his feet when he realized Adrian Ramos was not seriously injured on the play and he was escaping discipline…The referee finally broke out the cards (but none for simulation) during a 14 minute stretch beginning in the 64th minute after Thiago Silva impeded Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina on a drop kick. James Rodriguez of Colombia was also booked for his late challenge on Marcelo and Colombia’s Mario Yepes for his challenge on Silva in the 72 minute….Goalkeeper Julio Cesar should have seen a red card for his 78th minute foul on Carlos Bacca which set up a successful Colombia penalty kick. Cesar was clearly late on the play and took out the knees of the speedy second-half substitute and it remains unclear why the goalkeeper was not given his marching orders and only received a yellow card…Colombia protests a very late offside call in the 66th minute as Yepes looked like he had scored his team’s opening goal but the play is called back for a raised flag. .In an ill-tempered match eventually won by the hosts Carballo did little to keep things from spiralling out of control with a tournament-ending injury to Brazilian star Neymar a prime example of the referee’s poor judgement. As Neymar attempted to control a high ball in the 88th minute of the match, Colombia defender Juan Zuniga crashed into the striker kneeing him in the back and breaking his Vertebrae but Carballo waved play-on and failed to punish Zuniga for his deliberate attempt to injure.

th-2Howard Webb
Nationality
: England
Date of Birth: 14/07/1971

LinesmenMichael Mullarkey, England, 03/05/1970; Darren Cann, England, 22/01/1969

What a tangled Webb he weaves….Winner of two consecutive RedCardTheRef fan voting polls for worst referee in the English Premier League, his defenders say his is the recipient of unfair criticism by reactionary fans…The ex-policeman from Yorkshire, may go down as one of the most successful English referees ever since Webb has taken charge of all of his nations’ domestic finals, two European Championships and two World Cup finals… Despite his impressive resume, Webb was said to have altered his game this season in his attempts ensure selection for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Many observers felt this seriously impacted his decision making process and thus the outcome of several key matches during the first half of the season. Thus Webb found himself out of the mix for several key Premier League and Champions League matches as the season drew to a close.

Webb at World Cup 2014

Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 9
Fouls: 76
June 19, Match 21, Colombia 2, Ivory Coast 1A strong first half for Webb, but the flaws mounted in the second half of his first match at Brazil 2014…Webb was quick and justified to whistle Serie Die for his hand to the face of Juan Crudrado in the 33rd minute…Correctly turned down penalty kick appeal by Crisitan Zapata in the 44th minute…Showed too much restraint by not booking Colombia’s Cristian Zapata  for his hold on fast-breaking Gervinho in the 48th minute, as the foul thwarted a genuine scoring chance…Webb dished out an undeserved second yellow card of the tournament for Didier Zokora of Ivory Coast, who will miss his next match. Webb fell for a clever dive by Cuadrado of Colombia midway through the second half as television replays clearly showed Cuardado shielded the ball and then went down all too easily after minimal contact from Zokora…10 minutes later Ivory Coast penalty kick appeals denied after a Didier Drogba free kick clearly strikes the arm of jumping Colombian defender James Rodriguez as the ball was headed toward goal…Confusion breaks out in the 88th minute after a dangerous and late tackle by Ismael Tiote of Ivory Coast on Cuadrado. As Cuadrado lies on the pitch Webb chooses to allow the play to continue before finally stopping the match 1:30 later and issuing a yellow card to Tiote. A shoving match breaks out and the incident takes several minutes but Webb refuses to add the necessary added time to the match or extend it past the four minutes.

June 28, Match 49, Second Stage, Brazil 3, Chile 2 (PK): A far from flawless outing for Premier League referee Howard Webb but nonetheless a reasonably competent showing in Brazil’s foul-filled penalty-kicks victory over Chile. Maintaining order in this feisty affair would have been a challenge for any top official. Webb dished out seven yellow cards and a tournament high 51 fouls, albeit with 30 minutes of extra time. Overall he maintained order in a match marked by a high degree of off the ball fouls, theatrics and play acting by both teams…One of Webb’s biggest mistakes during the match came towards the end during the penalty kicks tiebreaker. Webb and his linesmen failed to spot Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar moving in a forward motion to stop Mauricio Panilla on the first of his two penalty-kicks saves. This gave Brazil a huge advantage after Cesar stopped Chile again on their second attempt when Cesar legally thwarted Gonzalo Jara with a fine save …Webb made the correct call in disallowing Hulk’s 55th minute strike on a handball call but handed out an undeserved yellow card for the offence as there was no intent by the Brazilian forward to handle the ball…Brazil defender David Luiz somehow escapes getting a yellow card after yanking down Chile forward Alexis Sanchez at the midfield stripe with a two-handed pull…A possible flashpoint that went unchecked: Webb has his back turned at the halftime interval when Fred of Brazil walks\ed up to Chile’s Gary Medel and cuffed him on the back of the head. While nothing came of it, the incident was  an indication that the tradition of bad blood between the two rivals would continue throughout the match despite the best attempts of the officials to apply the laws of the game.

Support Duo
Svein Oddvar Moen, Norway, 22/01/1979
Kim Haglund, Norway, 27/05/1977

CAST YOUR VOTE NOW IN OUR POLL:

Who is the worst referee at the FIFA 2014 World Cup?

  • Enrique Osses, Chile (0%, 62 Votes)
  • Nawaf Shukralla, Bahrain (0%, 66 Votes)
  • Mark Geiger, United States (0%, 88 Votes)
  • Noumandiez Desire Doue, Ivory Coast (0%, 88 Votes)
  • Jonas Eriksson, Sweden (0%, 91 Votes)
  • Joel Aguilar, El Salvador (0%, 95 Votes)
  • Bakary Papa Gassama, Gambia (0%, 127 Votes)
  • Meira Sandro Ricci, Brazil (0%, 134 Votes)
  • Carlos Vera, Ecuador (0%, 140 Votes)
  • Felix Brych, Germany (0%, 146 Votes)
  • Bjorn Kuipers, Netherlands (0%, 146 Votes)
  • Cuneyt Cakir, Turkey (0%, 147 Votes)
  • Nestor Pitana, Argentina (0%, 152 Votes)
  • Ravshan Irmatov, Uzbeckistan (0%, 155 Votes)
  • Ben Williams, Australia (0%, 169 Votes)
  • Nicola Rizzoli, Italy (0%, 266 Votes)
  • Howard Webb, England (0%, 276 Votes)
  • Djamel Haimoudi, Ivory Coast (0%, 301 Votes)
  • Wilmar Roldan, Colombia (0%, 411 Votes)
  • Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Mexico (0%, 491 Votes)
  • Pedro Proenca, Portugal (1%, 624 Votes)
  • Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain (1%, 686 Votes)
  • Yuichi Nishimura, Japan (2%, 2,067 Votes)
  • Peter O'Leary, New Zealand (15%, 16,075 Votes)
  • Milorad Mazic, Serbia (79%, 87,362 Votes)

Total Voters: 110,365

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2 thoughts on “Updated daily: A complete guide to the referees of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

  1. ﻣﺎﺯﯾﭻ ﺭﯾﺪ ﺑﻪ ﺗﻤﺎﻡ ﻣﻌﻨﺎ ﺗﻮﯼ ﺑﺎﺯﯼ ﺍﯾﺮﺍﻥ

  2. Where is Italian ref rizzoli who reffed the finals? He is heinous! Gets in the way of the players and game, falls for dives left and right, misses off the ball fouls, and is card happy over tiny contacts- worst ref of the 2014 World Cup- get rid of that guy!!! Boo!!!! Hiss!!!!!

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