July 9, 2013

Shukralla and Eriksson to be in charge of U-20 World Cup semifinals

FIFA has designated the officiating teams for Wednesday's FIFA Under-20 World Cup semifinals in Bursa and Trabzon respectively. Bahrain's Nawaf Shukralla will take charge of France - Ghana being involved in a match of the African side for the second time at this tournament, while Swedish Jonas Eriksson has been nominated for the duel between both surprising nations of this competition, Iraq and Uruguay.

fr.l.: Yaser Tulefat, Nawaf Shukralla, Ebrahim Saleh (BHR) (c) bfa.bh

Semifinal 1
10 July 2013
Match 49 – Atatürk Stadium, Bursa (TUR) – 17:00 CET
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Abdulla Tulefat (Bahrain)
Assistant Referee 2: Ebrahim Mubarak Saleh (Bahrain)
Fourth Official: Walter López Castellanos (Guatemala)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Leonel Leal (Costa Rica)
Blog Observer: Chefren (Italy)

Jonas Eriksson of Sweden (c) Welt.de

Semifinal 2
10 July 2013
Match 50 – Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium, Trabzon (TUR) – 20:00 CET
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (Sweden)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (Sweden)
Fourth Official: Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Angesom Ogbamariam (Eritrea)
Blog Observer: Niclas E. (Germany)


  1. Reading the appointment of Shukralla, I'm going to think that the goal scored by Ghana in Ghana-USA was evaluated as regular by FIFA.
    Otherwise, they might have appointed another referee for a so important match (a semifial).
    If you take a look at the video, you notice that it's difficult to understand which player passes the ball to the Ghana striker in offside.
    It seems a deliberate backpass by the heel of a USA player. Therefore, probably FIFA accepted this choice.

    On the other hand, very good achievement for Erisson at his first FIFA tournament ever. A reliable referee. For now, it seems difficult to see him among the UEFA officials at WC next year, too many names behind him, but everything can always happen.

  2. Anonymous9/7/13 12:09

    To be honest, I think that Jonas Eriksson has a good case for making it to Brazil next year. Remember, he participated in the Euro 2012 and has made good matches in the FIFA games he has had this year, for example Montenegro-England also in this tournament. The competition is of course very tough, but in my view (as biased as it is, since I am a Swede!), I think that he deserves a place in Brazil next summer.

    /Swedish Observer

    1. Hi Swedish observer, I think that Eriksson can be really content with what he is reaching as FIFA referee.
      If he wants to spend all the years possible as FIFA referee, he will quit in 2019, so at least after Brazil, there will be other two important tournaments: Euro2016 and WC2018. But we should also underline that his luck was related (probably) to Hansson and the infamous handball.
      Until 2009, Eriksson was only the Swedish nr.2, and it might have been impossible to have a hope for an important tournament.
      Finally, a personal remark: he has a very strong couple of assistants, most of the times faultless and always helping him in each situations.
      Sometimes it seems that you are watching three referees at the same level on the pitch. That's good.

  3. First of all I do not think that the performance principle really applies at this tournament. There are 23 referee trios, it is a clear signal by FIFA that they want to test their officials. FIFA does not draw any benefit from sending referees home due to one mistake. Williams missed a 100% penalty in ESP-GHA but got a quarterfinal. So it seems this was not the pre-dominant criteria for appointments.
    Shukralla had a great performance in Japan-Australia which in my opinion will lead to his nomination for 2014 World Cup. Irmatov and Nishimura should be clear, Al Ghamdi has retired, Al Badwawi is injured, Williams and Faghani need some more experience.
    Concerning Eriksson, his progress since 2011 has been remarkable. But if we apply the principle "good performances (specially in FIFA tournaments), progress and politics", there are Webb, Brych, Rizzoli, Undiano/Velasco, Proenca, Skomina, Kassai, Cakir and Kuipers whose place at the World Cup can be considered as quite safe as well. As we do not know how many officials from UEFA zone FIFA is going to choose (I would guess 9 or 10), all those names Eriksson, Moen, Kralovec and Mazic are really facing competition. They would deserve it all, but I am not sure how possible it will be.

    1. And I totally forgot Stéphane Lannoy..

    2. Anonymous9/7/13 16:35

      Very good analysis, Niclas, I totally agree. Where did you find out about Al Ghamdi's retirement, does that mean he is no longer on the pre list for 2014 world cup, if that is the case, are they going to find another replacement from AFC. I only know that Al Badwawi was injured and is fighting to be fit for under 17 world cup in UAE. At this stage, Shukralla is looking very likely for 2014 world cup nomination, since Western Asian region usually has one referee in the world cup.

    3. Anonymous9/7/13 17:26

      We all know that the UEFA slots are the most difficult ones to get, refereeing-wise, in a FIFA World Cup. Assuming that there would be 9 referees and 1 fourth official as in South Africa, I would like to think like this.

      I agree that Webb (who is clearly better than Clattenburg), Brych (who is clearly better than Stark), Proenca, Skomina, Cakir and Kuipers should be safe bets for Brazil and that then leaves us with 3 more names (and one fourth official).

      Jonas Eriksson has performed very well over the last years, and has a steady progress (in contrast compared to, for example, Kassai). EURO 2012, important matches in the qualifings and semifinals in Europa League (2012 and 2013) together with a semifinal in the FIFA U-20 World Cup) says something. It will be tough, but I think he will make it in the end. But I might have my Swedish glasses on here...

      We all know that Victor Kassai is a superb referee. Kassai has, however, not impressed this year, and he has been let down by his assistants. Remember that there are refereeing trios going to the World Cup. Based on performance, he might get problems, and also based on the entire team's performance (remember also that Vad made Kassai leave EURO 2012 early). I am not convinced, but I hope, and think, that Kassai will travel to Brazil, because I really like his refereeing style. But he can't afford more mistakes now.

      Undiano has, honestly speaking, not impressed for years. And Velasco Carballo has not been at his best either in 2012 (in front of Collina in EURO 2012) and 2013. So I would not be surprised if there is no Spaniard in the World Cup. I rule them out from Brazil.

      Rizzoli? Well, has not been so impressive this year, but have we ever seen a World Cup without an Italian referee, and when also considering Collina's influence, I think that he will go too. And he is very good when at his best.

      Lannoy - well, not at his best in the past, but he has improved, at the same time haunted with injuries. I don't think that he will be in Brazil in the end and he has failed to impress me enough. France will probably have problems finding a top Elite ref for some years.

      Kralovec and Moen are young and I doubt that they will go. Mazic is another story. He could be the one coming from "nowhere" and ending up in Brazil. But only as fourth official, at least in my view.

      So my UEFA squad at the moment would be: 1) Webb, 2) Brych, 3) Proenca, 4) Skomina, 5) Cakir, 6) Kuipers, 7) Kassai, 8) Rizzoli, 9) Eriksson. Mazic as fourth official.

      /Swedish Observer

    4. Great analysis, thanks. Would be nice to read more often such statements made by you ;)

      It was reported in the Arabian news that Al Ghamdi has decided to quit, so yes, he is dropped from the pre list as far as I know.

      Moen and Kralovec both have impressed in most of their FIFA games. They are very good referees for the future but I agree that this World Cup comes too early. On the other hand Roman Slysko could be a good argument to nominate this team as standby team for the World Cup.

      I cannot imagine that Spain won't have a World Cup referee, since Angel Villar Llona is the head of refereeing in the committee. He has enough power to make some pressure on Busacca. I am not sure whether Velasco is the no.1 in FIFA's eyes at the moment. I cannot give many reasons but my feeling tells me that Undiano's chances are a bit higher.

      Surely Kassai has still a lot of credit from WC relegation and WC 2010. They won't ignore him but it is clear that he really should improve next season. I believe that the CL knockout stage could also give some hints (looking for FIFA committee members as observers such as Trentalange, Mikkelsen, Riley...).

      My squad would be, at the moment (rather a careful prediction):

      Brych, Webb, Undiano, Rizzoli, Proenca, Cakir, Kassai, Kuipers, Skomina + Lannoy, Eriksson or Kralovec. I do not want to decide that :D

      For the other confederations, I would go with these refs at the moment, assuming that only Conmebol receives one additional slot:

      AFC: Irmatov, Nishimura, Shukralla + Williams*

      CAF: Alioum, Gassama, Haimoudi + Bennett

      CONCACAF: Aguilar, García, Geiger + López*

      CONMEBOL: Arias, Carrillo Osses, Ricci, Roldán, Vera + Vazquez (it is almost sure Grondona will push an Argentine referee, most probably Pitana, into the squad..)

      OFC: O'Leary + Hauata

      * due to politics

    5. Very interesting conversation. In order to help it I am going to post the number of FIFA games each official has done in the past 3 years.


      Irmatov (15), Nishimura (14), Shukralla (12) Williams (9), Al Badwawi (8), Faghani (7), Al Khamdi (6)


      Alioum (10), Haimoudi (8), Doue (8), Gassama (7), Bennett (5), Jedidi (3), Diatta (3)


      Garcia (13), Geiger (11), Lopez (10), Moreno (8), Aguilar (7), Rodriguez (5), Marrufo (2)


      Arias (10), Carrillo (9), Roldan (7), Vera (7), Osses (6), Ricci (5), Abal (4), Orosco (2), Soto (2), Vasquez (1)


      O' Leary (15), Hauata (6)


      Cakir (11), Clattenburg (9), Kralovec (9), Kassai (8), Moen (7), Undiano (7), Webb (7), Lannoy (6), Stark (5), Kuipers (5), Rizzoli (5), Eriksson (5), Rocchi (4), Brych (4), Mazic (4), Proenca (4), Skomina (4), Thomson (1), Velasco (1).

      It includes: WC 2010, U20, U17, CWC, OGT, Conf. Cup.

    6. Anonymous10/7/13 04:57

      I have been following Asian referee matters for a number of years. I must say that I am very impressed by Shukralla's rapid progress through AFC referees ranks in recent couple years. Two years ago, after the 2011 Asian Cup, he was definitely behind Al Ghamdi, Al Badwawi and a couple other ref from the West Asian region, I did not even think that he would make the world cup pre list. Now he is considered the top ref from West Asia who normally would make to the world cup, since politics always play a part in world cup ref selection. As shown for 2010, Al Ghamdi, the top ref from West Asia at the time was selected in favour of Matthew Breeze from Australia.

    7. Anonymous10/7/13 09:33

      Hi referee,

      Interesting statistics! But I wonder what matches Jonas Eriksson has done to get up to 5, considering that this is his first FIFA tournament (and that he will have done only 3 games in Turkey)? Do you include qualifying matches to FIFA World Cup in your statistics too?

      /Swedish Observer

    8. Carballo is the only referee in the prelist without a FIFA tournament until now in his whole international career. They might have appointed him for U20. He will be surely at U17, but probably not enough in order to reach 2014 WC. For this reason, I'm going to think that they will prefer again Undiano, considering also his big experience at FIFA level.

    9. Yes Referee is including also qualifyinf matches, but I think that those games are absolutly irrelevant for FIFA....

    10. Anonymous10/7/13 10:03

      Hi Chefren,

      Thanks for the info.

      But I must say that I disagree with you, at least when it comes to UEFA referees.

      I can't imagine that the qualifying matches in Europe are irrelevant for FIFA. I would say the opposite, to be honest. I would have thought that FIFA values these matches highly too.

      Of course a final tournament is important, but to be honest: what is the toughest match: for example Spain-France in a World Cup qualifier or Cuba-Korea in the U-20 World Cup? I know what my response to that question would be, and it would be the first match.

      Of course it may be a great possibility to position yourself for the FIFA referees' committe in a youth World Cup, but surely the qualifying matches have to mean a lot too, bearing in mind that FIFA observs the refs in those games.

      As would - I imagine - all other international competition games like for example UEFA Champions League etc. with UEFA observers.

      The only games that I would deem as irrelevant would probably be domestic matches with national observers.

      Best regards

      Swedish Observer

    11. Of course I include qualifiers. They are a part of FIFA processing for officials in the pre-list. Those marks count at the final decision.

      @Chefren: You can't say that these matches are irrelevant for FIFA.

    12. Anonymous10/7/13 10:40

      Yes, it is always tough to choose between Caballo and Undiano from Spain. But I think one thing is for certain, we will see only one of them in Brazil, not both. I agree with Chefren, that FIFA will probably again prefer Undiano, otherwise FIFA would have certainly appointed Caballo to a FIFA tournament by now. I have a feeling that FIFA has already included all the leading candidates in either of Confed Cup and Under 20 Cup, other remaining referees are simply standby and not likely for Brazil next year.

    13. I share your view on that. These 12 referees could perhaps be the most probable candidates for 2014. But why should have FIFA tested Kralovec in 7 matches if they drop him? So I really believe he won't be ignored, but a lot can also depend from his next FIFA tournament (I guess Moen, Thomson, Kralovec and so on will get a u17 call-up.).

      And no. Continental qualifiers are important. Busacca and his team surely watch every big clash as an essential test for Brazil. It is no surprise that Brych got Spain-France but did not get so much in other FIFA tournaments. Performances like this one or a CL semifinal are by far more relevant than Japan-Mexico at Confed Cup. I would rather consider these meetings at mini-tournaments as duty, as chance to meet the colleagues from the pre list and get some insightful training by the FIFA coaches. But I doubt that the matches are THE criteria for the World Cup selection.

    14. Anyway even though qualifying matches are relevant for FIFA, they can't call a referee to WC merely based on that. I think that the tournaments, even though U17 and U20 WCs with low profile matches, are more and more important than the qualifying matches.
      1) they are observed by many FIFA committee members
      2) the committee sees how a referee acts in a tournament
      3) there are meetings and instructions.

    15. Anyway they will surely call Pedro Proenca. And for what reason? Surely not because of having refereed Brazil-Japan and Uruguay-Tahiti ;)
      It is furthermore no coincidence that Trentalange observed Skomina in Real-Man City, that Mikkelsen observed Thomson in PSG-Porto or that Riley observed Mazic in his CL K.O. stage. I think there is a clear relation. And we also do not know the referee observers in the FIFA qualifiers...I could imagine that someone like Busacca or Trentalange assessed matches like Brych in ESP-FRA or Kassai in the return leg.

    16. But this doesn't happen in AFC or CAF Champions League, probably.
      So, is that correct?

    17. Ntagungira is also in the CAF committee I think. Sene, Lacarne etc. as well, so I guess in a way it is like that in CAF as well.

    18. Anonymous10/7/13 15:18

      I think continental world cup qualifiers are very important as well. Appointments for crucial world cup qualifiers, such as play off matches, do provide an indication of FIFA's preferred referee candidates. For example, during the 2010 world cup qualifiers, FIFA selected Irmatov and Nishimura for the two legs of AFC play off between the two third placed teams, they were eventually both choosen as main referees for the 2010 world cup from AFC.

  4. Congrats to all appointees.
    I agree, Shukralla looks certain to be at Brazil next summer. I too believe that Eriksson has improved dramatically in recent months and I was immensely impressed with him in the ESP-FRA game. If he continues in this fashion, he will give the powers that be a real selection headache.

  5. These officials stay at the tournament

    Noumandiez Doue (CIV)
    Alireza Faghani (IRN)
    Roberto García (MEX)
    Milorad Mazic (SRB)
    Peter O'Leary (NZL)
    Sandro Ricci (BRA)
    Wilmar Roldán (COL)
    Alberto Undiano (ESP)

    1. Very interesting, this time I see an important chance for Doue and CAF.

    2. Anonymous10/7/13 15:25

      If Uruguay fails to reach the final, maybe Wilmar Roldan for the final. Both Garcia and Ricci already had three games each, not likely to have another one. FIFA is using this U-20 world cup to test referees, especially the ones they have not seen much. Maybe, Mazic and Faghani are both possible for the final.

  6. Anonymous10/7/13 13:44

    What about Rizzoli ? He showed a solid performance in Chile-Ghana (maybe easy match) !

  7. Same goes for many other officials but FIFA had to take some (political) decisions.

  8. Is there a neutrality rule for the final.If answer is yes,Mažić for 3rd place match,and Doue or Roldan for the final.Your prediction?

  9. FINAL
    FRA-URU: Mazic or Faghani
    FRA-IRQ (it looks like that atm): Roldán

    3rd PLACE
    GHA-IRQ: Roldán
    GHA-URU (it looks like that atm): Mazic or Faghani

    I see no room for Doue and guess that García and Ricci will work as fourth officials.

    1. Anonymous10/7/13 21:04

      Why not Doue? :)

    2. Because I think a referee for a final should be able to control games.

  10. Anonymous10/7/13 22:29

    How did Shukralla do today?

  11. Overall good performance, the problem was his 2nd yellow card, which was actually a mistake.
    Chefren's report will reveal more.

  12. Final France-Uruguay.
    Referee: Doue?

  13. My final prediction:
    GHA-IRQ: Undiano, Cabanero, Diaz, Mazic
    FRA-URU: O'Leary, Hintz, Kumar, Faghani

  14. Anonymous11/7/13 00:45


    03-08-2013 Libreville (Gabon) 20:45

    French Super Cup Trophée des champions

    Paris Saint Germain - Girondins de Bordeaux

    Referee : Jérôme Efong-Nzolo (BEL)
    AR1: Evarist Menkouande (CAM)
    AR2: Sylvain Mouala (GAB)
    4Of : Eric Otogo (GAB)


    1. German Supercup:
      27.7.13 20:30
      Borussia Dortmund - Bayern München (CL final...)
      Referee: Dr. Jochen Drees (BL referee)
      AR1: Tobias Christ (BL assistant / 2.BL referee)
      AR2: Christian Gittelmann (2.BL assistant)
      4Of: Guido Kleve (FIFA assistant)

    2. Just to add a remark on French Super Cup appointment: Jerome Efong Nzolo is a FIFA referee for Belgium but he is from Gabon :) So a nice appointment for him, back in his homeland

  15. Predictions:
    FRA-URU: Faghani; kamranifar, Sokhandan; Garcia
    GHA-IRQ: Mazic; Ristic, Djurdevic; Doue

    1. Anonymous11/7/13 04:49

      FRA-URU: O'Leary, Hintz, Kumar, Garcia
      GHA-IRQ: Mazic, Ristic, Djurdevic, Ricci

      If FIFA decides to apply confederation neutrality rule for the final as well, then it can only be one of the following four referees, Doue, Faghani, Garcia or O'Leary. Since Garcia has already had three games, thus unlikely to have the final. Also this is the first FIFA tournament for both Doue and Faghani. But for O'Leary, this is almost his 10th FIFA tournament, certainly his last chance to do a final before retirement as he will not be around for 2018 world cup selection cycle. I think FIFA will finally reward him in this youth tournament. O'Leary probably will go to the world cup next year, but not likely to feature in any knock out games though. Obviously FIFA has often proved our predictions wrong.

    2. Small correction: It's already Doue's third FIFA tournament. As for the rest, I have to agree.

    3. Anonymous11/7/13 09:46

      Thanks Niclas for the correction, it is Doue's third FIFA tournament. I actually confirmed that it is O'Leary's 10th FIFA tournament as a main referee since he first appeared in 2007 U-20 world cup, is that a record? In that sense, Doue might be the choice for the final, a huge chance for CAF official to impress. But FIFA seems lacking confidence in appointing CAF referees to important matches at FIFA tournament in recent years.

  16. Eriksson showed a good/very good performance yesterday. There were no crucial situations but the overall impression was really good (player-management, approach, card management, teamwork, added time management..). He can improve his positioning and movement as well as some minor things. Report to follow later.

    1. Anonymous11/7/13 11:24

      8,4 in my book for Jonas and probably the same for his assistants (maybe also 8,5 for Klasenius). Very good man management and rapport with players, as always.

      /Swedish observer

    2. I thought of these marks: Eriksson 8.4 or 8.5, Klasenius 8.4 or 8.5, Wärnmark 8.3 (missed offside in 116', a header had to be kept by the goalie who was distracted by a player in an offside position (line of sight), only one correct flag apart from it).

  17. Anonymous11/7/13 10:43

    Faghani for the final, is my prediction. They need to test him and give him a chance to prove himself, in my view. But I have made many wrong predictions in the past ;-)

    /Swedish Observer

  18. Mark for Shukralla will be 7.9 (8.4).
    I would like to hear your opinions on the crucial mistake made with the sending off (80').
    Do you think that the YC came from AR1 or Shukralla?
    A pity, it was a good performance until then.

  19. Panama vs. Martinique

    Referee: Armando Castro (HON)
    AR1: Christian Ramírez (HON)
    AR2: Octavio Jara (CRC)
    Fourth: Mark Geiger (USA)
    Assessor: Stanley Darville (BAH)

    Mexico vs. Canada

    Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
    AR1: William Torres (SLV)
    AR2: Juan Francisco Zumba (SLV)
    Fourth: Marcos Brea (CUB)
    Assessor: Donald Wilbur (USA)

  20. Anonymous11/7/13 18:37

    It seems as Garcia from Mexico got the final...

    /Swedish observer

  21. Emil Archambault13/7/13 09:25

    Why are there so few bookings for excessive celebrations after goals? In the Confed Cup, the Brazilian players constantly left the pitch to celebrate at ridiculous lengths, which was tolerated by the referees. Then, the French goalscorer used the corner flag as a spear after his first goal. This is getting ridiculous.

    1. I agree with you, the problem is that you if you read the LotG it is said that only in case of wasting of time, the referee has to book a player for celebration, there is too discretion. Taking away the corner flag it should be a mandatory YC in my opinion, too, but in Shukralla report I was force to accept his decision because it isn't clearly encoded on the rules.

    2. Emil Archambault14/7/13 09:30

      It's not, but just as a player who draws markings on the pitch (specified in the Laws), or who moves the goal, is sanctioned by a caution, so should a player moving the corner flags. Any player who deliberately alters the pitch is guilty of unsportsmanlike behaviour, in my opinion.

      Of course, in this case, as the goalscorer already had a caution, maybe the referee chose not to put himself in too much trouble...


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