July 11, 2014

Nicola Rizzoli will referee FIFA World Cup 2014 Final

Nicola Rizzoli, Renato Faverani, Andrea Stefani, Carlos Vera and Christian Lescano have been chosen to take charge of Sunday's top-class final between Germany and Argentina at Rio de Janeiro's Estádio do Maracanã. This has been confirmed by the world's football governing body FIFA in the late Brazilian afternoon.


The 42-year old Italian architect residing in Mirandola, close to Bologna, already refereed Argentina's wins over Nigeria (3:2, group stage) and Belgium (1:0 in the quarterfinals). Before having shown quite good performances in both matches mentioned, his team had already controlled the excitedly awaited remake of 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands (1:5). Besides Rizzoli's frequent companions Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani, Massimo Busacca and his team have selected Ecuadorian Carlos Vera as the fourth official. The officiating team will be completed by Vera's countryman Christian Lescano as reserve assistant referee.

A UEFA Elite Group referee since June 2009, Rizzoli is used to the feeling and honour of being selected for a great final: In 2010, he oversaw Hamburg's UEFA Europa League final between Atlético Madrid and Fulham FC and three years later, he took control over the all-German UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München.

Good luck!

13 July 2014, 21:00 CET
Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
GERMANY - ARGENTINA
Referee: Nicola RIZZOLI (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Renato FAVERANI (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrea STEFANI (ITA)
Fourth Official: Carlos VERA (ECU)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Christian LESCANO (ECU)
Blog Referee Observer: EDWARD (GRE)

156 Comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. It is a violent conduct only in your mind! Stop it please!

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    2. And i hope, hubert, that you ste not a referee because you say a lot of mistakes every times

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    3. You are right Hubert.Nobody forget champions maker Rizzoli!(B.München)Busacca,Collina,=Rizzoli..İtalia, Swizzera Italiana=Busacca

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    4. I never thought that expressing hopes combined with sincere congratulations can cause such bad reactions...

      Tizio, check the report written by Niclas on this blog. It's the first proof that it is violent conduct not only for me...

      Moli, calm down and at least try to not abuse other users for having different opinions. It's so immature.

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    5. No personal attacks here.
      Please have your say without insulting other people, Moli.
      Post deleted.

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    6. Don't spread prejudices please. A referee team have just received their biggest appointment of their lives. Absolutely misplaced. Respect for Rizzoli's achievements - admirable.

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    7. No comment, Niclas... In my comment were no prejudices and any negative feedback! Those were facts that strongly correspond to another final for Italian referee. He refereed CL final and was just weak. It's his another big final and it's interesting how will he deal with same sort of things, isn't it?

      Combining FACTS from one of his previous match at this WC and another final of big competitions is prejudicing to you. My sincere congratulations for your lack of logic. Be still a fan of all those politic designations.

      Marks were 7.2 for CL and 7.4 for SPA-NED on your blog. Those two matches strongly correspond with this final appointment, but...

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    8. You've gone too far, although there is some point in your observation(s).

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    9. Hubert, in your opinion, who deserved the final?

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    10. Webb or Eriksson. Vera would be good if not politics (again!). Cakir if he had not a semi.

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    11. Webb... after Spain-Holland that was his worst match!

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    12. Wouldn't SPA-NED, as a World Cup final, strongly correspond to another World Cup final appointment? So I don't see the logic in digging up dirt on Rizzoli and wanting Webb instead.

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    13. Watch SPA-NED again, then CL final in 2013 and compare a difficulty of those games and overall players' attitude. I wonder whether you know other referee who could handle 2010 WC final better. I don't know. Apart from that, Webb was better at this WC, what should be a deciding factor.

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    14. The house rules also count for you, so please restrain from insults. Why did you delete the comment? PREJUDICE = EARLY JUDGMENT. My only point is that we should wait for his performance and not judge this referee by 2 marks below 7.5 before he has performed in a, I dare to predict, easy match. That demands the respect under refereeing colleagues. I would have liked to see Webb on the 4th spot, but Busacca chose the politically correct option.

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    15. I didn't make an early judgment. I just: a) congratulated all officials, b) expressed my hopes and recalled facts from matches that strongly correspond to this final. If those are misplaced judgments, I'm sorry... Then, the word 'hope' should be the final factor illustrating that I wish them all the best. Of course, I'm not happy with this appointment, but I respect that and wish all officials good luck. But you prefered to recognize my comment as misplaced and those who replied me in abusive and definitely too emotional tone are at good level of balanced comments for you, right? As I said earlier, I never thought that expressing hopes is something wrong and may cause such reaction...

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    16. I have no words chefren, an italian that accept the negative and the Anonymous said...
      I have no words chefren, an italian that accept the negative and the insinuation on the italian referee. In italy we know that this site is incorrect...don't worry and now you can delete this message, it is not important to me.i think that somebody says because hate the italy or the italian referee in genaral without to see the match

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    17. @ Hubert: And your hope is legitimate in my opinion. As usual, I am bothered by the HOW and not by the WHAT. There is no benefit to directly create a bad mood 30 minutes after we have received the biggest appointment of a referee team. Things should be analyzed after the match. I made the same mistake before USA BEL and so I learnt from that (even though my main target was the performance principle there, but ok).
      There are people who are not in the internet the whole day including me so that I missed the insults against you. As far as I have noticed, Chefren dealt quickly with that, I hardly can do more.

      @ Moli: That is called independence. Comments (and performances by the way) are evaluated independently. Should an Italian tolerate insults just because an Italian defends an Italian referee by that? Well, as I always say, logical consequence -> leave the blog immediately.

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    18. Again, I don't delete posts if there aren't insults. That's all.
      Regards.

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    19. Don't worry niclas i Let you in a blog full of prejudices, moreover i didn't see in my words the injuries but only the reality. I see only that hubert has deleted his post. So you can think about this

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    20. I deleted it because I thought that your comments will disappear and won't be harming me and this blog. Here I can repeat what I wrote (at least what I remember):

      Congratulations to all appointed officials.
      However, I hope that potential violent conducts will be dealt with red cards, not as it was in case of Diego Costa's headbutt in Spain - Netherlands at this WC and those in CL final in 2013.

      I think you can easily delete whole this run of posts (starting from my deleted comment to this one) as my intention was never to criticize Mr. Rizzoli who I rate as one of the best managers on the field, just to recall some interesting facts from my point of view.

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    21. @Moli

      Speak for your self when saying that this blog is incorrect. This blog operates independent and is not here just to congratulate officials and praise them for their performances.

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  2. Congratulations to my compatriot. Good luck!
    As regards Diego Costa's headbutt, I fear he didn't saw it, as Rodriguez with Suarez-Chiellini.
    Sorry for Irmatov, but he has another two WC. He has the time to get this appointment, maybe in Russia 2018. I hope in an Irmatov at 2010's level.
    Sorry also for Webb, used for a very difficult match and then stop.

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  3. Congrats to all appointees.

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  4. Well it was likely, but I feel under the current instructions from the FIFA refereeing committee, Rizzoli will be in for a rough ride. The Germans have been a dream in this tournament with very little in their play to bother the referee, however Argentina with the Ultimate prize in view will push Rizzoli very hard. Rizzoli has shown decent personality in his officiating but can he transform himself should the situation require it??? I'm not so sure.

    I quick word on Webb, fair enough that he was unlikely to get a second final and the final 4 except Germany were politically awkward for him, however I cannot believe how under used he was....The best performance of this WC was the Brazil/Chile game

    If I was Rizzoli I'd referee the game his way, with no more games to appoint he can feel the burden of instruction lifted, congrats Mr Rizzoli

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    1. Here's subscribing to John Pierce's every single word, especially the last couple of lines as a suggestion to Rizzoli: forget all those crazy instructions Busacca gave you all refs before this WC, and follow your instinct.

      I am Italian and therefore 100% happy with the designation, but at the same time I feel that in an ideal world the best available (Webb) should have been awarded this great opportunity, disregarding whether he was already awarded four years ago.
      Anyway this how the FIFA WC works, has been working for decades, and in the foreseeable future politics will never be a silent guest in a FIFA room where important decisions are taken.

      This being premised I may be biased, but I also feel that taking reciprocal vetos into account, the best of the remaining refs has been chosen.

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  5. Congrats, best wishes and... Please don't make a mistake that might ruin Busacca. You are his only hope at this WC.

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  6. Oh and congratulations to the entire team on their well deserved appointment. I hope they will enjoy the best day of their lives on Sunday. In bocca al lupo Nicola!

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  7. Rizzoli.... We'll see what he is worth if the game is as dirty as the final '90. I wish him the best, but I can only say that he wouldn't be my first choice.

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    1. I don't think he will have the same difficulty that Codesal had in 1990, this generation of players, specially the Argentinians behave in a more appropriate way compared to the pushing and shoving he received after calling the PK with 5 mins to go in the game (wrong call IMO). As I said before all CONMEBOL teams change their attitudes when playing against Europeans, opposite to when they play other South American teams.

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  8. BTW: Busacca's reaction to critics: You can.... me!

    http://www.kicker.de/news/fussball/wm/startseite/607846/artikel_wm-splitter_robben-waere-gern-fort---schiri-lob.html

    He blames Ex-Referees for all the critics....

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  9. HM, you are not wrong this despite the personel will be a re-run of the 1990 final, Muller will play Klinnsman, Messi Maradonna etc, a red card for the Mascherano which is long over due.....

    If I recall the referee did a decent job....

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  10. To get our minds of this debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAf6EGXnG-o
    It starts at 49:25.
    I would like to hear your opinion on the scene and if the referee (Carlos Vera/ECU) could have done something (verbal warning) to avoid this. Plus, is this RC for SFP or VC?
    Thank you for all answers in advance.

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    1. The referee gave two direct free kicks within seconds for two almost identical foul plays by the same player. However, if the RC was for SFP, then why didn't he give at least a YC for the first one? A straight RC for SFP in this case is inconsistent with not giving YC a few seconds before for exactly the same thing. If the RC was given for VC then why did he interpret the first offense as a foul? I think the problem is bigger than simply not giving a verbal warning.

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    2. It looks to me that he has added both incidents together and got a RC for VC. He's dealt poorly with the first one which clearly merited a YC and a warning as the player clearly intends to more harm than he actually managed. As there 1st incident was dealt with so meekly, the RC is a complete surprise to all concerned. I'm guessing without checking the temperature of the game was inflamed. Very poor management from an experienced official

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    3. To explain the situation: Copa America quarter-final, Chile (red Shirts) is trailing 1-2. The incident happens in added time (90'+3). Maybe he did not want to stop the game. Chile did not expect to loose this game, so yes, the tempers were pretty short.
      For me, he should whistle the first foul and give at least a verbal warning to calm both players. The RC is for my correct (hitting the opponent).
      The question why he goes for me a direct RC (VC/SFP) remains for me. Isn't hitting the opponent (accidently or not) always VC?

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    4. "strikes or attempts to strike an opponent" is among the seven offenses listed on Page 27 on par with tripping an opponent. The first of the two challenges resulted in a direct free kick, thus, the referee interpreted it as a foul. Can there be both, a foul and a VC by a player in one play action? Perhaps, as John suggested, adding the two incidents together, the referee reevaluated them as VC - deliberate and violent, as opposed to reckless and excessive force.

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    5. The first foul looks more like a tactical foul, should have been YC, but I see Vera saying something as the VEN player runs by him (he should have been more clear is he was warning him). The second foul seems to me that he is just smacking him in the head, correct RC.

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  11. When UEFA commitment said that final games should be served by best referees, I guess they forgot to look at ratings where Irmatov had 7.7 and Rizzoli 7.6. The same shit happened with Irmatov in 2010 final. It looks like a bit discrimination, these guys from committee put for final games only EU referees

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    1. I am a soccer referee, and two years ago I met Jonas Eriksson and then asked what he thought about the chance to judge the finals of the world championships. He was very sure that if there should be a European team and a team from South America in the final, then there will be no referee from these continents. Therefore, it is strange and illogical to see how FIFA and Buschara now controls it all. Talking about the best judge to judge in the finale seems to be bullshit.

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    2. What is a "Buschara"?

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    3. Oops! I think you know what i mean. Busacca of course. Buschara is a kind of pizza from my local delivery, just forget it.

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  12. It's very difficult to say, I know. But which referee it's more likely to see in Russia 2018 and who can't be? Rizzoli, Webb, Proenca....

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    1. None of them will be available for RUSSIA 2018 due to age restrictions.

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    2. (Or do you mean their successors?)

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    3. Jonas Eriksson is 40 years old, and could be one of the referees in Russia. But in Sweden there is at least one new young (born 85) ref that could be the next nr in Sweden in a few years. I think he will be a UEFA-referee soon.

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    4. Andreas Ekberg is a FIFA-referee since last year.

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    5. I mean...It's difficult to predict who can be a top referee in 2018?

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    6. Yes, that's difficult: Remember that Sandro Ricci was not even a FIFA referee four years ago.

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    7. Do you think that sooner or later a referee from AFC will get the WC's final?

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    8. Yes, definitely - in the case Mark Shield had not terminated his career in 2008 he could have become the third strong AFC (then: OFC) representative along with Ravshan Irmatov and Yuichi Nishimura. He was selected for the World Cups 2002 and 2006, could have participated in the World Cups 2010 and 2014 and even be a candidate for the World Cup 2018.

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    9. Do you think Irmatov will be the most likely choice inside AFC?

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  13. Congratulations to Rizzoli, Faverani and Stefani.
    It might be a controversial choice as Rizzoli made an obvious mistake in Spa-Ned but his overall management of the games he officiated was pretty solid. If he gets rid of the lenient, cautious approach he sometimes adopted in some high profile matches in his career he will do a fine job.

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  14. Red card for Silva?? Obvious dogso to me

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  17. We are discussing Haimodi performance here:
    footballrefereeing.blogspot.it/2014/07/djamel-haimoudi-appointed-for-third.html

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  18. Irmatov was the most suitable candidate for this WCs’ final, he is a meaning of “probity” – if it had still left on an earth.
    I think, no need to remind, that he had been marked as the best ref in AFC division of FIFA on 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, was an outstanding one in WC-2010, and being good now. Sure, he could be marked by FIFA accordingly now, but…
    However, Irmatov also owning an order of "Pride of Uzbekistan" – and, he really is a Pride of Uzbekistan.

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  19. Still wondering what happened with Gassama?!

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  20. Hi Niclas,
    The France-Nigeria report link is broken.

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  21. Strange situation with Kramer in the ARG penalty area. Would anyone whistle a penalty here?

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    1. Where si the penalty!!!! Bah...

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    2. Sitting on a couch in front a Tv screen one could always argue it was a penalty.
      On the pitch, in a WC final, it's penalty only of the referee wants to be crucified.

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  22. Delighted - one of the biggest decisions he'll ever make and got it spot on! :)

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  23. Wonderful Stefani and Faverani!

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  24. Missed red card to Höwedes. No doubt about it...

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    1. imho i think it is borderline. studs are high but low intensity so yc or rc justifiable

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    2. I have no doubt that is borderline but is a final of world cup . Rc only if is evident clear

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  25. Good performance so far by Rizolli.
    - '16 correct no penalty decision, it was an unintentional collision by the Argentinian defender and Kramer
    - good offside decisions by both AR's
    - '41 good game management in the situation with Mueller (also in the rest of this first half, I really like the way Rizolli is managing games)

    Points to discuss IMO:
    - positioning in the first 10 minutes of the game
    - '29 YC for Schweinsteiger is too harsh, i don't see SPA and can't thiok for what other reason the card could have been given.
    - '34 YC for Hoewedes could have easaly a RC for SFP.

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  26. Unintentional? I would argue about that. But still not enough for a penalty for me. The Höwedes challenge is borderline to RC for SFP, but ok.

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  27. First the freekick to Argentina when Mullers shirt is pulled in the penalty area and then the freekick to Neuer. If a player did that it would be a red card.

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    1. Neuer took clearly the ball. The error was that Higuain didn't make a foul!
      For me no freekick in the Muller case.

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    2. He took the ball, but for me this is a very dangerous play. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bsc2cppCcAAS2oH.jpg:large

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    3. I know your feeling as for me it's also reckless tackle, but Polish site asked Mr. Zbigniew Przesmycki once about the same situation from Ukraine Premier League and answer was clear: NO FOUL. Therefore, referees have to use such instructions that are given to them...

      Check it:
      http://sedziapilkarski.pl/szkolenia/wyskok-bramkarza-do-pilki-zgodnie-z-przepisami/15718

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    4. How do you suggestiv Neuer should have played the ball there?

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    5. Yes of course this is dangerous play by Neuer. It should have been a free kick to Argentina and at least a YC for Neuer.

      For me this was the first real mistake by Rizolli.

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    6. Maybe not with a knee in the opponents head? https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bsc5WlAIIAEy7mC.jpg:large

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    7. He is obliged to referee as They want it. If it's not a foul for authorities, he can not whistle it, even having a different point of view on it. No mistake, as it is no foul for UEFA/FIFA. Probably Niclas will tell us more about it, as he even wrote an article about goalkeepers' attacks with knees. I think much of us disagree with a play-on call here, but it's a good call...

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    8. I've seen many replays of this situation now and for me there is no other conclusion that this should have been a penalty for Argentina.

      I think Rizolli chose the easy way here, because he felt the need to whistle after such a hard collision of two players. He didn't want to give a penalty so he chose to 'protect' the goalkeeper.

      But the LOTG are very clear: there is no need to protect a goalkeeper outside his goal area + jumping with your knee so high and in the direction of your opponent is a foul (dangerous play).

      I don't think Neuer playing the ball in this case is relevant. For example a player who jumps with his knee like this to head a ball in midfield also makes a foul. No one would argue that.

      Of course it would have been a very brave and tough decision by Rizolli to whistle a penalty here, but IMO he should have done when we look at the LOTG.

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    9. I'm sorry but Neuer's challenge is never a foul at any level of this game. You may read the letters of the LotG, but if you've ever tried to put it in to practice either refereeing or playing, you know that that type of challenge is perfectly acceptable for a goalkeeper.

      You may think it would be brave or correct to call that a foul, but doing so would be completely against the way the game is played.

      In addition, Neuer is within his area and if the foul is dangerous play (it's not, it's a charge if anything), the correct restart is an indirect free kick, not a penalty. If he's not in his area, then it's a DFK for deliberate handball.

      The only thing Rizzoli got wrong in that challenge is that Higuaín did not foul Neuer.

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    11. I missed where it was mentioned "goal area" instead of "penalty area". I'm still curious where this interpretation that the goalkeeper is differently protected within the goal area versus the penalty area. I've only known a difference within the box versus outside the box (i.e. whether he can use his hands or not).

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    12. You are right, there is no law that protects the goalkeeper more than a field player. My mistake.

      But you also state that this kind of challenge is perfectly acceptable for a goalkeeper. I strongly disagree with that! It is not accepted for field players so it should not be accepted for goalkeepers.

      IMO it is accepted that goalkeepers protect themselves by bending there knees if they reach for a cross. In this case it was completely different. Neuer came with high speed and jumped with his knee to his opponent. That's nothing else but a foul.

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    13. But goalkeepers can challenge with their hands, that usually means they're jumping higher or more often and in different ways. In this case, if Neuer couldn't use his hands, he never would have made his challenge in that way. For me, his jump was normal (i.e. his knees were no different from how anyone's would be jumping that way) and his punch was a regular challenge that any goalkeeper would make.

      I think it's agree to disagree for us though :)

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  28. 3 missed 2nd YC. Rizzoli simply has no courage.

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    1. That's why he's always perfect candidate for finals ;)

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  29. Missed 2ndYC for Mascherano and Agüero. The one was Agüero was blatant and he DID see it.

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  30. Aguero should've gone after reckless elbow attack...

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  31. Missed YC for Palacio for shirt pulling + kicking the ball away....

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  32. Replies
    1. Don't know if you can say missed 2nd YCs are crucial errors. If so 7.7, if not 8.0.

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    2. Definitely high from FIFA. Rizzoli didn't show a single red card = good performance ;) [sarcasm]

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  33. First comment right after the match and without keeping notes.

    Good foul detection, excellent interaction with players, excellent assistants.

    But Aguero and Schweinsteiger should both have gone with 2nd YC. I know it is a final and he didn't want to "spoil" the match but we cannot bend the LOTG. Both cases are textbook for me. Extremely lenient.

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    1. What was the second YC for Schweinsteiger? The challenge in the 120'+1 on Messi? That's not a definite YC for me, but I could see it being given. Not clear-cut though.

      I have to think he didn't see Agüero's hit in the 108' otherwise I agree that it was an error not to at least give a YC.

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    2. If you mean Schweinsteiger I think he deemed it as careless (agreed) and not spa (50-50). Mascherano's tackles were reckless and should have been 2nd YCs. Aguero must go. Lots of smaller mistakes. Very good communication, management and control. I can't go higher than 7.4, sorry.

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    3. So even more strict than me. And I feared my critic was harsh.
      But I agree with you on these scenes.

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    4. Rizzoli should not get a mark starting with 8. His ARs were his saviour, and his curse. They helped him superbly but their great performance made Rizzoli's look mediocre

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  34. Rizzoli 8.2 (Aguero 2nd YC is not a crucial mistake IMHO), Faverani 8.6, Stefani 8.5

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    1. Where is this coming from that the goalkeeper is more protected in the goal area versus the penalty area? Neuer has a perfect right to challenge how he did within his penalty area.

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  36. What about the duel Kramer suffered from in 30'? Shoulder Vs head inside the penalty area.

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    1. You mean Garay's challenge in the 17'? If so, I don't think Garay had any intention in that. I think he was expecting shoulder-to-shoulder, but Rojo knocked Kramer off-balance and his head was caught instead. I know intent shouldn't come into it, but it looked like a normal challenge in full-speed. Only on replay do you really see what happened. That's just an unfortunate outcome that happens sometimes in a contact sport for me.

      Kramer finally came off around 30-31'. Maybe that's what you're thinking of?

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    2. Difficult to judge. However, it's a foul everywhere outside the penalty area...

      I wonder what are your thoughts on Neuer's attack (as I said, it's penalty and maybe even red card for me (knee on the head), but I know the instructions given to referees...) and Hoewedes tackle (here I can't believe people say the yellow was good).

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    3. I think a YC was actually the right call, it wasn't a gut RC in real time, looking at the slow mo, his intentions are not reckless just late, low impact then the boot rides up the leg. Looking at Hoewedes' reaction he was horrified not the reaction of an assassin IMO

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  37. As I said earlier. NO FOUL is a correct call also for FIFA in Neuer - Higuain situation. FIFA Referee Assessor during this World Cup, Michał Listkiewicz, said it was no foul from Higuain and no foul from Neuer. The same arguments as Mr. Przesmycki's above: both players attack the ball and the goallie doesn't attack with straightened leg (only this is a foul when GK hits the ball at first).

    Very valuable statement:
    http://www.sport.pl/mundial2014/1,137769,16318789,Niemcy___Argentyna__Listkiewicz__Sedzia_Rizzoli_popelnil.html

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  38. Good find Hubert. We can disagree about whether _we_ think some of these situations are fouls/YC/RC/etc, but the fact remains that certain things are acceptable/interpreted in a certain way by officials and players at this level. To go against that would be a surprise to everyone involved. So to criticize a referee for not going against the norm is a bit harsh.

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    1. Agree. I would surely defend Rizzoli if someone said he was wrong not giving a penalty and yellow/red against GK. He acted in a way authorities want him to act. It's not his fault that instructions are such. He is a servant of LoTG and instructions and must fully follow them.

      By the way, what is your opinion on Hoewedes tackle?

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    2. After the replays clear RC in my eyes against Höwedes. Studs up, hitting the opponent's knee - there is no choice. However, difficult to see. Nevertheless, we Germans were lucky in this scene.

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    3. But the question where he find the freekick for Neuer is still there. :)

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  39. Finally, I would go for 7.4 to Rizzoli.

    Crucial mistakes: no red card against Höwedes (33') and missed second yellow card against Agüero (108')

    Grey-zone incidents: shoulder on Kramer's head (17', possible penalty), Mascherano's tackles (101', 107', possible second yellow cards) and Schweinsteiger's tackle (120+1', possible second yellow card)

    Neuer's attack must be evaluated as clear due to instructions. We can personally not agree with it, but the referee is there to do what his bosses want.

    Excellent, brilliant management. Really top-class as Webb. It's nice to see players accepting even bad calls and respect him all the game!

    Positioning could've been better, sometimes the angle of observation was of zero degrees (in example: Höwedes tackle), sometimes obstructed by players (missed second yellow card against Agüero). So, both crucial mistakes are caused by bad position taken by the referee.

    ----------

    Renato Faverani with outstanding performance, brilliant positioning and eagle-eye. World-class performance. 8.8 would be my mark.

    Andrea Stefani with correctly disallowed goal (easy call) and very good positioning. Not so challenged like his vis a vis, but faultless in offside detection. I have a feeling that he saw Höwedes' tackle well, but... maybe there is a no-red-card instruction for the finals... 8.3 due to that, otherwise 8.5.

    Carlos Vera with full control over benches, especially with Germany's one at the end of the game. Calm and respected. 8.6

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    1. Hubert, perhaps a quick look at ET saw the German bench erupt and advance on a couple of Argentine tackles, full control....not so sure but I get your point

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    2. It's not weird taking into account emotions at the end of almost won, but very hard game. Vera was always there to calm bench down and was successful in it.

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  40. Well perhaps we should look at the Neuer incident this way, the only way Neuer could play the ball was to reach over the Argentine player to punch it, however this was only achieved by going through the player both recklessly and dangerously. As we know when player leaves the ground he has no control over his body. Neuer clearly endangered the player. It is the very definition of a tackle from behind. If a player did this by reaching round yet, clearing the player out from behind, it would be a red card. Overall Rizzoli was as we expected, weak, and the right choice for FIFA. I'm disappointed he didn't show any strength, being nice and chatty with players is simply not enough. Many points above highlight a mediocre performance. A shame to bring the WC down on this type of performance

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    1. I fully agree with you about Neuer. His intervention is clearly reckless or even using excessive force by its definition!

      "Reckless" means that the player has acted with complete disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent. A player who plays in a reckless manner shall be cautioned.

      "Using excessive force" means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent. A player who uses excessive force shall be sent off.

      Those instructions given to referees about goalkeepers break the LoTG in my humble opinion. Neuer saw his opponent and decided to attack the ball at least "with complete disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent".

      That said, we can't blame Rizzoli for no-penalty and no-card call, because he was surely taught many times how to interprete such situations. And, according to FIFA referee observer who worked in Brazil, his only fault was to whistle a foul in attack... I don't know who (IFAB/FIFA/UEFA) is to blame, but it's definitely not referee in this case.

      Also agree with your statement, that Rizzoli was just "the right choice for FIFA". A referee who showed us that he doesn't issue even obvious red cards in important matches is a referee who fits perfectly for such kind of games regarding the FIFA and UEFA philosophy "to not spoil" an important match with a red card or penalty kick and remain in full control over players. I have one answer on it: the referee issuing an obvious red card or a penalty kick doesn't spoil the game, it's a player who commits an offence guilty of spoiling the game. This performance also crowns the FIFA's ultra-lenient way of refereeing. It was just excellent performance for FIFA, they are happy for sure. I would like to see them explaining young referees why there are different LoTG at the World Cup. Nothing more.

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  41. Everybody here who believes that each "missing" YC is a serious referee mistake and that giving all YCs is mandatory and is the best game control strategy, please, re-watch the Netherlands-Portugal match from the 2006 WC, where Valentin Ivanov completely lost control of the match by giving sixteen YC and four RC.
    Here are extended highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMdZkIkL4EE
    Here is full match: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fDpgoX68hc
    In my opinion, Rizzoli's match control and player management were outstanding, especially in the context this being the WC final watched by several billion people.
    8.3 (8.8, 8.6).

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    1. Nobody said that a missing YC is a serious mistake, but according to UEFA a missed 2nd YC is a crucial mistake.

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    2. The two 2nd yellow cards (to Aguero and Schweinsteiger) were not missed. They were not given. In my opinion, these were within referee discretion, unlike the 2nd YC not given in the England-Uruguay match.

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    3. I agree on Schweinsteiger. It was not clear for me and hence no crucial mistake. What Aguero did was at the borderline to striking (= Red Card). A 2nd YC was the smallest sanction possible. So of course this was a crucial mistake, there is no benefit to praise a performance as being faultless that was indeed very good for 100 minutes but was spoilt by clear crucial mistakes in the last 20-25 minutes of the game.

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    4. "Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent" is one of seven foul offenses punishable by a direct free kick (Page 25). It is not =RC and it is not a mandatory YC, unless the referee considers it to be a SFP, a VC, or persistent infringement.

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    5. Striking can be careless, reckless or characterized by excessive force, I know, sorry for the spongy formulation. With borderline I meant it was between reckless and excessive force in my opinion but rather reckless.

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    6. I could agree with you and with the majority opinion that this 2nd YC should have been given. What I disagree with is that it was a crucial mistake not to give it. In a way, it was a lose-lose situation for Rizzoli, and he chose not to give it.

      I will also give you one more argument in favor of not giving that YC to Aguero for striking the opponent. It was not part of any persistent fouling sequence. Therefore, he should have been given either straight RC (not a 2nd YC), or no card.

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  42. some final! thoughts from the rugby corner?
    - I watched the game as if I was assessing - I found it difficult as I was continually trying to ascertain the referees position at various incidents and found he was not in the picture, replays helped somewhat! I always want to know where the referee is - dis he have a good view? was he blocked? etc
    - it was not perfection, but no game would be especially at this level but in my humble opinion, he did pretty well overall
    - I like his management style of chatting (although one did not hear what he was saying. unlike my rugby games where I am miked into the referee and hear every thing) and having a smile on his face - there was little dissent about decisions
    - 2 competent ARs gave him the necessary support

    now I feel that with many of the above posts, people had already made up their minds about the referee before the game started and simply went looking for their considered mistakes, so they could criticise so trying to justify themselves
    At all rugby matches I attend I have to collate the number of pen / fk / scrums / l-outs - after the game I will meet with the referee where we go through the game and I am able to ask them about specific incidents in the game for their point of view - many times my view of the incident - good or bad - has altered so that the report reflects it properly
    - the rugby 10 metre rule should be more strictly applied to cut out the dissent- a couple of times early in the game especially if the advancement created a penalty would stop it quickly in my view
    - video referee - I rest my case with the penalty in the 3/4 th place game - a second view would have meant no penalty! - if it cuts out mistakes like this would it not be beneficial to all involved?

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    1. It seems as if you are the one who assessed this match being biased. And I mean a positive bias. Everything what the referee does is nice and great, there were no missed sending-offs. Try to rewatch this match without positive bias and using both your eyes. We are not moving in a pink world where everything is necessarily fine. Mistakes happened and were very clear. I am consistently wondering whether you deliberate keep both eyes closed for them or just did not recognize them as you are not familiar with the Laws of the Game.

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    2. And on the video replay...it is the wrong approach IMO. Instead of thinking how to repair the picture that has fallen down to the ground and got broken it would be the more clever (and easier) way if we strive for optimizing what can avoid that it falls down the wall.
      AR2 failed to be correctly positioned by 3-4 metres. If he had been positioned accordingly, the decision PENALTY / NO PENALTY would have been extremely easy for him. So please please try to think how to improve the decision-taking in football and not how to correct the decision-taking afterwards.

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    3. niclas - thank you for your reply
      - is it wrong to be looking for the positives as well as negatives
      - what I am looking for is a 'whole' game performance - I believe that I said that it was not 'perfection' but he did pretty well overall
      - if I had been present officially I certainly would have wanted to discuss several incidents with him to find out his view / version (goalkeeper incident - the bad high tackle by the German - the incident that caused the German eventually having to be replaced, the Aguiro incident + one/two more - in rugby I could do it but here we are dependent on the TV - I have found my view of incidents have changed after talking to the referee as he was obviously a lot closer to the incident than me!
      - I think that one of my final comments when I am speaking to the referee is 'we might have to agree to disagree' might have to apply here, but still it would be a dull life if we all agreed with each other

      I would like to get the report form I use in rugby I think you might find it interesting!! perhaps you can suggest a way?

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    4. No doubt Terry, we don't have to agree always. Thank you, but we are possessing a couple of FIFA and UEFA reports which gave us sufficient insight in referee observation.

      I disagree with both approaches and am still not understanding why there are always these two extremes. First of all you surely agree we are moving in a sports where the performance principle counts. This counts for the teams and also for the referees. Being in a final does not erase this performance principle. So we can judge the referees' performances in a way we would also apply during a CL 2nd qualifier match (in theory).

      Now the two extremes I am against:

      Extreme 1: Poor performance, too many crucial mistakes.
      Extreme 2: Very good performance, excellent player management, there will never be perfection and mistakes can happen.

      In my opinion none of them is right. Rizzoli excelled in managing this game - YES. For 100 minutes at least. Then he lost his line, missed a clear elbow offense - guys you can a hundred times say in a final management counts but still this is a 2nd YC at least - and struggled a bit with smaller mistakes (which might be normal under the circumstances..). So for me this was a mixture of very very good elements and (a) clear, undeniable mistake(s) in the extra-time. Where is the problem to say this? Germany and Argentina have NO benefit from a referee who communicates well with them for 100 minutes and uses a lot of personality but fails to protect the players appropiately when it becomes important or - in other scenarios - maybe misses a clear penalty deciding the final. My point just is: don't let the focus on man management and personality, which is justified and necessary, turn into a blindness and high tolerance for undeniable mistakes. And then we can agree maybe.

      Delete
  43. Colombia has won the FIFA fair play prize. ROTFL.

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  44. Funny. https://vine.co/v/MxDbOHxdmP3

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  45. No one in either team is talking about Rizzoli today.

    Except if there had been a “De Jong WC’ 10 challenge”, a DOGSO or a fight between players, there is no reason whatsoever to ruin a WC final by sending off people randomly…

    I am sorry, guys. A WC final is just too big of an affair. What really counts is player management, and in this respect Rizolli put in a master class. Way better than Webb in 2010, incidentally…

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    1. No doubt. Really not the slightest doubt. But it does not change that Aguero MUST go and that Rizzoli DID see it. Yes, everybody was calm. For a moment, please imagine what the German media would have done if Argentina had won, maybe if Aguero had scored the winning goal. Just for a moment.. the argument "there is no talk about the referee" does not interest me to be honest.

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  46. PK by Neuer was not PK. Intent rules!

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  47. Some of you miss the point that, in WC final, the unwritten "common sense" rule is by far the most important LoTG. As long as the ref is fully in control and players fully respect his authority, the technical issues such as foul detection and card management are likely to be taken care of naturally. Just like yesterday.

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  48. In my opinion, Aguero must be sent off for 2nd YC, but it was a good Rizzoli. He applies the LOTG (except in that case) and not Busacca's rules. In your opinion who are the best five referees of the WC, considering not only the performance but also the difficulty degree of the matches?

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    1. I agree Federico. I am the last one who wants to harrass referees, don't misunderstand me. But I cannot answer this question. I tried it but I did not find the 5 best officials.

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    2. Not even the best 10 ARs? ;)

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    3. I'll give it a try, Federico.

      1) Kuipers
      2) Webb
      3) Rizzoli
      4) Pitana
      5) Ricci

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    4. 1) Kuipers
      2) Pitana
      3) Webb
      4) Rodriguez
      5) Cakir
      5B) Ricci
      Honourable mention: Gassama (had only one match).

      Honourable mentions for ARs, in no particular order: Faverani/Stefani for their work in final, Joe Fletcher for an exceptional onside call in FRA-NGA, Klasenius for excellent work in CMR-BRA, Mullarkey for disallowing Hulk's goal in BRA-CHI, Van Roekel/Zeinstra.

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  49. One final comment: the fact that the Argentines today are only mildly complaining about Neuer's PK speaks volumes about Rizzoli performance. These guys would otherwise be punching his locker room and picketing in front of his hotel, for Pete's sake! And they are fairly quiet...

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    1. Welcome in commercialized football and its corresponding refereeing whose main target is to bring all 22 players to minute 120 and listen to the media in order to identify whether a performance has been good or not. That's not the refereeing which is promoted in this blog and I hope that you understand that. And again - no wonder that the Argentines are quiet. It was their player(s) who should have gone. Nobody asks the Germans and no wonder - they would not answer - because they don't care as they are the champions. I strongly hope that as a "referee observer in Brazil" you watch the DVD and not read newspapers to judge a performance - with all due respect.

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    2. When I see Kuipers, Webb, and others in action, these can can only screw up if they fail a DOGSO, a PK, an easy offside, an easy red.

      This is the same criteria I use when I think highly of Collina, Rosetti, Markus Merk, Peter Mikkelsen, Sandor Puhl, J.J. Torres (Colombia), Horacio Elizondo, Jose Roberto Ramiz Wright (Brazil), etc.

      They were all superb masters of player management. None of them screwed up too often, too much. I don't grade, and I don't care if I ended up in the minority here. I think we need a breath of fresh air after your reports that come out as if, indeed, it was all about the ref and dishing out YC's and RC's.

      I am far more interested in a ref that command players respect by sheer presence and sound judgment. These are my criteria. Do I agree with Busacca's choices? Hell no! Carballo Velasco should be banned for life, for starters. Do I like his approach of "no cards in the first half"? Hell no.

      Did Webb need cards in BRA-CHI? A lot fewer than another ref would have needed. Did Rizzoli need cards in SPA-NED? A lot fewer than another ref would have needed. These guys rock precisely because they don't need cards.

      While the majority here seem to think that presence and personality do not preclude dishing out cards, Kuipers, Webb and Rizzoli have proved you wrong time and again.

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  50. niclas - I agree with your comments in general we in rugby assessing expect the higher the level the game the more player/game management is important - we don't expect law mistakes or critical incidents being missed!!
    - I also think we have 2 benefits in games that have not been available in the world cup! - 1 - I am always miked up to the referee so that I can hear everything that is said by him to the players - lack of or poor communication is a good part of his report that he gets - 2 - I meet up with the referee after the game in the bar usually! - so that I can debrief and this is when I can get his opinion on incidents I am not happy with - quite often it changes my view of the incident
    I had one referee whose stock answer on my questions was simply I did not see it - on his report I simply wrote - we have a problem in answer to questions it was obvious he did not see very much!! - promotion no way!
    Somehow the poor referee has to provide a framework for a fair contest, with penalty where necessary but must not become the 'STAR' of the game - very difficult and they all have a different method of doing so - long may it continue as it provides things to discuss.




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    1. Terry - being a rugby referee myself (WRU National List; refereed a National Youth Cup semi-final; ARd at a National Youth Final) I unsurprisingly agree with the approach that you take in assessing a referee. In rugby we are acutely aware that if a referee has a perfect game in terms of applying Law as written, the game would almost certainly suffer; a penalty count well beyond the upper bounds of acceptable, a card count to match and a thoroughly dull spectacle. We know we have to bend the LoTG to a certain extent and the audience expect it to a certain degree - the best referees know how far to bend the Laws whilst the worst referees completely misjudge it on a regular basis.

      What has baffled me is the desire amongst some on this blog to see at least 10 yellow cards and a couple of reds shown at every single game - this is absurd. The game is not about the referee; sometimes the referee has to take a personal hit to make the game better - I know that from experience (not giving a decision that you just have a gut feel shouldn't be given but you know you will be questioned about after the fact by an advisor/assessor). The best assessors contextualise - there is a massive difference between the World Cup Final and the second qualifying round of the Champions League; there is a massive difference between a district 3XV match and a top of the table Premiership clash. You can attempt to apply the same assessing framework for the two games but it's not necessarily the sanest thing to do.

      For me it is mostly about management; of course decision making is important and I agree a red card should perhaps have been given in this final but would I be too harsh on him for not giving it? Not really.

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    2. what a welcome post - someone who understands that YCs and red cards given out willy nilly do not constitute a good performance.
      there is little credit being given for a good overall 80/90 minute performance - we would have few referees left because they would / should have poor reports because of the number of cards they were giving - simply because they do not have the game/player management skills necessary to referee the players on the pitch and consequently simply resort to cards - thankfully the referees at this competition did not revert to card mania and in my opinion the game benefited for it - of course there was the odd mistake but overall did they really affect any game? and let's not have the 'what if' scenarios that people retreat to!!!!! - they really are irrevelant and are meaningless
      I hope we meet sometime you with the whistle and me with my pencil!!

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  51. Will you open a new thread to comment the whole refereeing at the WC?

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  52. I posted a comment yesterday but it doesn't appear in this blog? My question is: Why is this so?

    The comment is related to the referee, with all the respect he deserves, Nicola Rizzoli should have given the penalti in favor of the Argentine team. I think this is also fair play, according to FIFA slogan. If he had done this, the final result of the World Cup 2014 would have been different.

    Rizzoli detected different mistakes from both teams (Germany and Argentina) but when it comes to give the penalty in favor of the Argentine team he did not notice it. What happened here?

    Everybody was asking for this penalty, even the Argentina's couch. At least, he should have asked for the video.

    Thanks for reading

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    1. Why this is so? Because of this:

      "Nicola Rizzoli, ARGENTINA DESERVED TO WIN THE WORLD CUP 2014!
      Rizzoli made the mistake of not giving the penalty in favor of ARGENTINA.
      ARGENTINA DESRVES TO BE THE CHAMPION!"

      "Nicola Rizzoli, ARGENTINA. deserved to win the final World Cup and not Germany.
      You should have given the PENALTY in favour of ARGENTINA.
      A REFEREE LIKE YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS!"

      Comments like that don't have a place here.

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  53. Rizzoli interviewed by an Italian TV has confirmed that he did a mistake in the Neuer - Higuain situation. According to his opinion it was nothing: neither foul by Higuain, nor penalty. He also admitted that the match was very difficult, nevertheless he thinks that he has done a good job thank especially to ARs.

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    1. I don't understand Chefren's comment. It's ambigious. If Rizzoli recognized he made a mistake in the Higuain - Neuer situation. Then Rizzoli should have asked for the video and give the penalty and a yellow or red card in favor of the Argentine's team.

      As I said, he could see all the mistakes but not this one. What happened here?

      Thank you for Reading.

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  54. I have a law question that I would like an answer
    - during a cup match where a result has to be obtained - goalkeeper A is YC for time wasting (it does not matter how/why) - the game moves into extra time / penalties
    - goalkeeper A then does a Krull with the penalty takers to which the referee takes exception and YCs him a second time - which obviously becomes a red
    - what happens now? he is sent off - are his team allowed to replace him with a substitute? - I thought the purpose of a red card is to reduce the players on a team!!
    - has it ever happened??

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    1. The goalkeeper is sent off and is replaced with a player who is already on the field during the penalty shoot-out. Substitutes may be brought in at this point only if the goalkeeper is injured and the team has not exhausted its substitutions. The shoot-out continues with one fewer player on team A.

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  55. I have a question. A foul inside the penalty area occurs and the referee points to the spot. The attacker is injured and asks for medical help. Is he allowed to shoot the penalty after the medical staff goes away or does he have to leave the field as well? This happened in a real game and the referee asked the player to leave the field.

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