We are usually the last ones to admit when they do a good job but are astonished to report the referees at the 2014 FIFA World Cup escaped the weekend relatively unscathed from controversy and uproar.
Referees Doue, Geiger, Kuipers and Aguilar take a bow as you did yourselves proud with nearly spotless performances.
On Sunday, referee Sandro Ricci of Brazil pushed goal-line technology into action and used the device to award a goal for the first time ever at a World Cup. GLT gave a green light for France’s second goal of the game as they opened with a 3-0 win over Honduras.
Arguments supporting the yet to be universally-used surveillance systems (UEFA and other governing bodies have yet to adopt it ) were clearly bolstered while further officiating controversy averted.
When Les Bleus’ Karim Benzema ripped a blistering shot off the goalpost, Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares spilled the ball on his goal line and into the goal.
Ricci was quickly able to award the goal. Within a split second GLT clearly showed viewers around the globe that the ball had indeed dribbled 100 per cent across the line.
Despite a brief moment of protest from disbelieving Honduras coach Luis Suarez, a much longer delay in the match was avoided.
While it is one thing to heap praise upon inanimate object such as a GLT device, the majority of this weekend’s flesh and blood match officials also did some outstanding work and are clearly worthy of credit.
Noumandiez Doue of Ivory Coast completed a masterful performance in Match 4 between Chile and Australia on Friday.
Although there was some post-match criticism of Doue’s failure to award a penalty kick to the Socceroos by Australian striker Tim Cahill, he performed very well in the match allowing play to flow and players to take free kicks quickly. He also quickly administered discipline correctly when needed.
Ahead of the tournament we had predicted Mark Geiger would be a big flop, but for his first match the Geiger counter wasn’t needed.
Major League Soccer’s top official clearly proved us dead wrong in his first game at the tournament with a near-flawless outing in Match 5 between Colombia and Greece on Saturday.
Although he whistled down a tournament-high 33 fouls, he also turned down numerous attempts by both teams to draw fouls which weren’t deserved. His decisions were also well-timed and improved the tempo of this exciting match.
UEFA referee Bjorn Kuipers may have had “goosebumps” ahead of the World Cup but seemed at ease in Saturday’s marquee clash between England and Italy and delivered the goods.
Kuipers, who owns three grocery stores and a hair salon in his native Holland, blew his whistle sparingly in the match. It took him 92 minutes to issue his first and only yellow card of the game to Raheem Stirling while only calling 19 fouls but this approach heightened the entertainment value of the match.
Kuipers was coming off his second strong performance in a major match.
He took charge of last month’s UEFA Champions League clash between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid and did a masterful job in the match.
In Sunday’s late game El Salvador’s Joel Aguilar, a former footballer who is said to understand players emotions extremely well, put on likely the best refereeing performance of the tournament so far.
Aguilar was impressive with his near-perfect performance through the entire 90 minutes of Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
We watched and waited the entire game for cracks to start showing in Aguilar’s armour but they didn’t come. We couldn’t fault him for any of his decisions, which really is a complete rarity for any referee.
While it’s always refreshing and a break from tradition to report on good news referee stories, most fans are well aware a host of other officials at Brazil 2014 have failed to impress.
Nishimura, Roldan, Rizzoli, we’ve got our eyes on you!
Thanks for visiting the site today, but please don’t forget to cast your vote in our poll and tell us the identity of the worst referee at the World Cup.
VOTE HERE FOR WORST REFEREE AT THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP:
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