Seeing Red: A red-card double for referee Williams in Costa Rica’s win over Greece

Referee Benjamin Williams may not deserve it but has clearly won the tag of the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s most card-happy referee after flashing two red cards during Costa Rica’s 5-3 penalty kicks victory over Greece in Match 52 on Sunday.

The Australian issued two red cards in the match as we counted off red cards No. 10 and No. 11 of the tournament on Match Day 17. The physical education teacher from Canberra also handed out the ninth red card of the tournament just four days ago in his previous outing between Belgium and South Korea,  the final match of the tournament’s group stage.

Williams was forced to reach for his pocket 10 times during the physical elimination round match on Sunday between the former European champions and their rivals from CONCACAF.

Despite a stoppage-time equalizer by Greece, the outcome was eventually decided in a penalty shootout with the Costa Rican’s claiming a 5-3 victory.

As you can see in excerpts from our game-by-game referee reviews below, Williams’ decisions weren’t highly controversial and most observers felt they were fully deserved. Here is a look at all of the red cards to date at the 2014 FIFA World Cup:


10 & 11

June 29, Match 52, BEN WILLIAMS (Australia) 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…


June 26, Match 47, BEN WILLIAMS (Australia), 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.


June 25, Match 44, NOUMANDIEZ DOUE (Ivory Coast), Ecuador 0, France 0A 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.


June 24, Match 37, MARCO RODRIGUEZ (Mexico), 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 including Claudio Suarez’ now infamous bite to Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini…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.


June 23, Match 36, RASHVAN IRMATOV (Uzbekistan), Mexico 3,  Croatia 1Croatia 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 19, Match 23, JOEL AGUILAR (El Salvador), Japan 0, Greece 0: Kostas Katsouranis was shown the fifth red card of the tournament for his second bookable offence after a late challenge on Japan’s Makoto Hasebe.


June 18, Match 20, PEDRO PROENCA (Portugal) 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.


June 16, Match 12, MILORAD MAZIC (Serbia), 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.


June 15, Match 10, MARCO RICCI (Brazil), France 3, Honduras 0: Handed out the tournament’s second red card when Wilson Palacios of Honduras who 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.


June 14, Match 6, FELIX BRYCH (Germany), 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.



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 “Seeing Red: A red-card double for referee Williams in Costa Rica’s win over Greece

  1. The ref didn’t show the Mexico coach the red card. He did send him away, but a coach is never shown a red card. Maybe you should understand the laws of the game before making a blog to bash the refs.

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