WORLD CUP FINAL: GERMANY 1, ARGENTINA 0 (extra time)
REVIEW OF REFEREE NICOLA RIZZOLA
Match Day 25, July 13, Match 64
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.
In the lead up to Sunday’s fins some had criticized the decision by FIFA to let Rizzoli officiate the match since he had already overseen Argentina in two previous matches at the 2014 World Cup. Some claimed that Rizzoli had favoured the South Americans in those matches, but many others fully backed the architect from Bologna including England World Cup referee Howard Webb and former EPL referee, turned columnist, Graham Poll.
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 and 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 clearly showed intent to injure Kramer on the play 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 halftime that Kramer had suffered a head injury on the play.
⇒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 match again takes a decidedly physical turn in the 56th minute when Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer punches the ball at the edge of his area but then slams knee first into the head of Gonzalo Higuain. It is a horrific collision and Higuain remained down for several minutes but the keeper was judged by Rizzoli to have challenged for the ball legally. Replays of the incident however seem to indicate clear intent by Neuer to make contact with his opponent after punching away the ball.
⇒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. Yellow Cards: 4, Fouls: 36
REFEREE PROFILE: NICOLA RIZZOLI
Date of Birth: 05/10/1971
Linesmen: Renato 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
June 13, Match 3, Netherlands 5, Spain 1: Rizzoli 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 0: Rizzoli 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.
WE ARE KEEPING THE POLLS OPEN UNTIL MONDAY JULY 14th, SO DON`T FORGET TO VOTE BELOW IN OUR POLL FOR WORST WORLD CUP REFEREE:
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