June 10, 2014

World Cup 2014 Opener Referee Nishimura in Focus

As expected, 42-year old referee Yuichi Nishimura will have the pleasure and honour to blow World Cup 2014's kick-off whistle on Thursday evening, when Brazil are about to meet a strong Croatian side at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo. Reason enough for a short profile on the mostly smiling Japanese.

Personal Data
Born in 1972 and residing in prefecture Tokyo, Yuichi Nishimura decided to explicitly dedicate himself to officiating on a professional level as a full-time referee. He became an international referee in 2004, followed by first FIFA competition experiences in 2008 and 2009 respectively. As a result of that, he was one of four Asian referees at World Cup 2010 in South Africa and, among others, was the fourth official in the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.
On his way to Brazil, he made stops at the Olympic Games in Great Britain (2012) and in 2013, he first visited hosting nation Brazil as one of ten referees at FIFA Confederations Cup, taking charge of the group stage tie between Spain and Uruguay.

Like in South Africa, Nishimura will be assisted by Toru Sagara on the AR1 position. The second assistant referee will be Japanese Toshiyuki Nagi (Korean Hae Sang Jeong was AR2 back in 2010). Both assistant referees are known for their very good standard of performances and diligent fulfillment of their duties.
The Fourth Official and Standby Assistant Referee, also known as Fifth Official in FIFA's terminology, will both come from Iran: Alireza Faghani and Hassan Kamranifar will complete the all-Asian referee team for the opener game. Also back in 2010, a full Asian crew featuring Ravshan Irmatov, Rafael Ilyasov, Bakhadyr Kochkarov, Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh and Yuxin Mu were assigned for Match 1.

You most likely remember Nishimura as the referee who issued the first sending-off at World Cup 2010 in Match 2 between Uruguay and France (instead of a 2nd yellow card, it should have been a direct Red Card according to FIFA's educational videos). Due to very convincing performances, he was later assigned to take charge of the very challenging quarterfinal between the Netherlands and Brazil, red-carding Brazilian Felipe Melo for a violent conduct.

Key Strengths
Yuichi Nishimura usually starts with a lenient approach allowing the players room to police themselves and to prosper fluent play. Already when taking the kick-off ball during the entrance under the sounds of the FIFA anthem and particularly at the coin-toss, he normally creates a calm and friendly atmosphere by smiling all along. Modesty characterizes his appearance and tactical approach. He however has no problems to show flexibility in adapting his line and become strict when necessary. His body language then becomes quite serious disallowing protests against his decisions, whose quality is mostly very high.

Rooms for Improvement
As a European, it is definitely tough to dare analyses about referees from foreign confederations. Therefore potential rooms for improvement can only be based on observations gathered at bigger FIFA competitions. At World Cup 2010 and at Confed Cup 2013, it became quite obvious that Yuichi Nishimura tends to have problems in terms of keeping a high level of match control as soon as players become more emotive and unfair in their conduct with each other. At times, more verbal communication would not harm to reinforce his good body language.

Just check this video and you will see that Nishimura has a good sense for humour... :-) 


Good luck, Yuichi and co.!


  1. Good luck indeed! All eyes will be on the opener.

  2. My new predictions for Saturday matches (names should be released today):

    England - Italy
    Jonas Eriksson (SWE)

    Uruguay - Costa Rica
    Bakary Gassama (GAM)

    Colombia - Greece
    Mark Geiger (USA)

    Ivory Coast - Japan
    Nestor Pitana (ARG)

    1. England - Italy: Björn Kuipers (NED)
      Uruguay - Costa Rica: Cüneyt Cakir (TUR)
      Colombia - Greece: Nawaf Shukralla (BAH)
      Côte d'Ivoire - Japan: Felix Brych (GER)
      are mine.

    2. England - Italy: Felix Brych (GER)
      Uruguay - Costa Rica: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
      Colombia - Greece: Peter O'Leary (NZL)
      Côte d'Ivoire - Japan: Pedro Proenca (POR)
      are my predictions, as written in the other thread.

    3. ENG - ITA: Björn Kuipers (NED)
      URU - CRC: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
      COL - GRE: Ben Williams (AUS)
      CIV - JPN: Mark Geiger (USA)

    4. ENG-ITA: Jonas Eriksson
      URU-CRC: Pedro Proenca
      COL-GRE: Nawaf Shukralla
      CIV-JAP: Felix Brych

    5. Mine:

      ENG - ITA: Björn Kuipers (NED) or Pedro PROENCA to avoid the cross between Rizzoli-Netherland and Kuipers-Italy
      URU - CRC: Felix BRYCH (GER)
      CIV - JPN: Jonas ERKSSON (SWE)

  3. OT
    2014/15 Pre-season Preparation Course for UEFA Top Referees

    13-15 August, Nyon, Switzerland

    1. Why so early ? generlly it is in september. Any news about promotion or demotion of Uefa classes ?

    2. As far as we know, the category changes have been made. But the corresponding databases still do not show an update.

  4. Expect FIFA's next appointments around 21-22 CET.

  5. Anonymous11/6/14 14:56

    Back-up referee Daniel Bennett from South Africa has been sent home due to injuring himself in a training session on 3rd June. No replacement will be made and his assistant referee from Kenya will remain with the tournament. Very bad news for the ref.


    1. I am very sorry for him. His assistant could than be the fifth official with Norbert Hauata, couldn't he?.
      Can somebody explain why Hauata (french language) is fourth official in Mex-Cam (Roldan, spanish) instead of Victor Carillo (spanish language) and Moreno (spanish) in Chi-Aus (Doue, french) instead of Hauata so that the main referee and his fourth official fit together much better by speaking the same mother tongue alongside english of course? Question of experience? Confederation mix also in other matches beside the european ones?

    2. Anonymous11/6/14 20:40

      Agree with you, Jens. Exchanging ideas through native language makes things a whole lot easier.

  6. Anonymous11/6/14 20:52

    My picks for today's appointments, or rather the decisions I'd take:

    COLOMBIA-GREECE ---- Peter O'Leary
    ENGLAND-ITALY ---- Milorad Mazic
    URUGUAY-COSTA RICA ---- Bakary Gassama
    IVORY COAST-JAPAN ---- Pedro Proença

  7. England-Italy for Kuipers and
    Iv.Coast-Japan for Pitana.

  8. Anonymous12/6/14 05:42

    Group C is very evenly balanced, each team has a chance, so every match is important, I would expect a more experienced referee for COL vs GRE. On the other hand, Group D has three teams fighting for two spots, so matches involving Costa Rica seems to be less important. Obviously we all know FIFA trust only certain referees for big games.

  9. Kuipers will be in the middle for England - Italy
    Source: KNVB

    COL-GRE: Geiger
    URU-CRC: Brych
    CIV-JPN: Osses

  10. Anonymous12/6/14 22:33

    Neymar: correct YC. Reckless but not deliberate violent conduct.
    Borderline decision but well done.

  11. The penalty foul looked soft to me. I suppose Nishimura took the easy way out - favour the home team, the hosting team. Had he whistled this foul against Brazil? I personally doubt it.

    And Nishimura has experience, age, etc. Sad to see that happen. I'm disappointed in that particular decision, reminded more of a dive than a foul, actually. That's my opinion, you can disagree (politely, please).

    1. I agree. And also I think Nishimura was not very close to the game.

  12. Anonymous13/6/14 10:41

    poor yuichi nishumura desicion to give the penalty to brazil incorect


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