The appointments UEFA had to make during the last days are more important than others are. They indicate who will assist the main referees,we already know, at EURO 2012:
According to a source, UEFA applies a certain procedure in this K.O. stage with regard to the assistant referees' nominations: if a referee who will join EURO 2012 gets a CL match, he will be assisted by the planned referees for the final competition. If a referee considered as no.2 or 3 of a certain country gets a EL match, he will be assisted by the planned AR2 along with the Reserve AR. An example? David Fernández Borbalán has been appointed for EL with Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez and Jesús Calvo Guadamuro. This means that UEFA has selected Yuste Jiménez as AR2 for the final tournament in Poland and Ukraine at Velasco's (and probably Alonso Fernández' side) while Calvo Guadamuro is the reserve AR for the finals.
Therefore, a closer look on the appointments UEFA made can be useful.
UEFA Champions League
Tagliavento already knows Stade de Gerland: he accompanied Nicola Rizzoli in Olympique Lyon - Real Madrid on Matchday 4. The same counts for one of his assistant referees: Renato Faverani surely does not have the best associations with this stadium. In addition to him, Luca Maggiani joins the team as AR2. Here we can apply the same procedure again: The planned AR2 of Rizzoli's EURO Team assists another referee from the same country along with the reserve AR, therefore, Andrea Stefani should be the AR1 of the EURO team, Renato Faverani the AR2 and Maggiani will potentially remain in standby. Luca Banti and Andrea de Marco will complete the team as Additional Assistant Referees, Paolo Valeri will function as Fourth Official. Juan Antonio Fernandez Marin from Spain will observe the Italian team.
My bet: 0-0
My bet: 0-0
The most surprising appointment was probably Craig Thomson's nomination for Leverkusen - Barcelona. Of course, it is a good test for the EURO team, but Thomson has already refereed a match with Leverkusen's involvement, it was MD3, the match between Leverkusen and Valencia was also played in the same stadium. Alasdair Ross and Derek Rose seem to be the names who will appear in Poland/Ukraine, too. While Steven McLean has lost his slot as AAR - he will now act as Fourth Official - William Collum and Euan Norris assist Thomson as AARs. Surely no surprise.
|Thomson in Serbia, minutes before the match was abandoned|
Taking all his performances and especially the amount of matches he received in 2011 into consideration, one has to emphasize that Thomson has really developed to a very good ELITE referee. I am not sure how much he will get in this CL season, his big advantage is that no Scottish team will probably be involved in the next decade's UCL semifinals. One thing is clear: UEFA needs (at least) six referees they will not appoint anymore after the Group Stage of EURO as main referees. Guys like Thomson have to show something, so he should use the chance today; Horst Brummeier from Austria will expect a lot from the team.
My bet: 1-1
My bet: 1-1
Jonas Eriksson from Sweden will have presumedly no problem with the weather conditions in St. Petersburg. Even though most parts of Europe are finally defrosting, the thermometers still show a temperature of -13°C in St.Petersburg. The multimillionaire from Sigtuna will be able to cope with that. To my mind, Eriksson was the best referee of the CL group stage, he got the highest amount of matches (4), although this was due to an injury of Strömbergsson.
|from left: Eriksson, Wittberg, Fernandez Marin, ..., Klasenius.|
Unfortunately, Mathias Klasenius will not run his lines in this match which also means that he is not considered as AR at EURO. Klasenius has accompanied Eriksson for years, joined several youth tournaments and - one has to say that - better performances than the selected AR2 Fredrik Nilsson who did not make good impressions in e.g. Bayern - Villarreal. Anyway, Stefan Wittberg's participation at EURO should not be in danger, the last "remnant" of the great generation "Frisk" and "Fröjdfeldt". Eriksson has established himself at the peak of UEFA refereeing, I think that he can reach a lot this year, perhaps even a final appointment in UEFA Europa League or at least a semifinal. Zenit St.Petersburg - Benfica is probably not such a big match like others, but two teams which are on one level and which will do everything to win guarantee a good match. Daniel Stalhammar as Fourth Official, Markus Strömbergsson and Stefan Johannesson as AARs will assist him; the team is observed by the Czech Dr. Vaclav Krondl, certainly no "no-name" in the UEFA referee observers' pool.
My bet: 1-2
My bet: 1-2
|Viktor Kassai at Wembley, cautioning Valdés|
History sometimes repeats itself: Viktor Kassai's "opener match" into the new international season will be held again in Giuseppe Meazza, again it is the first leg of a round of 16 match (last year Internazionale - Bayern), but this time, AC Milan will be the hosts when meeting Arsenal London from "the Island". In the last year, this round of 16 match was enough for UEFA to appoint Kassai for the CL final, that cannot be the case this time, but without any doubt, the world's best referee of 2011 is one of the favourites for EURO 2012's final match. He will be assisted by Gabor Eros and György Ring. According to the statistics I have at hand (they go back until EURO 1984), Ring will be the youngest assistant referee ever at EURO finals aged 31 when the final competition will take place. Tamás Bognar has been appointed as Fourth Official while the two EURO AARs should be clear by now, too: István Vad, to my mind the biggest talent which is currently in UEFA's First Group, and Mihaly Fabián will be the men at the goallines.
Even though UEFA should actually know Kassai by hard, they have sent a committee member to evaluate him: the German Herbert Fandel will be the UEFA referee observer.
My bet: 2-2
My bet: 2-2