Reflecting the 36 group stage matches, the first interim-report can be done. With a few exceptions, the level of football has been weak. With a few exceptions, the level of refereeing has been quite good. We have seen numerous very good performances, some satisfying, some not satisfying performances.
My proposals for who should stay and who should go. Nikolay Levnikov told a Russian newspaper that 6 officials had to leave the tournament before the KO stage. Criteria to be kept in mind: Performances, big mistakes, experience and maybe also a bit regional politics.
Some match officials convinced in both games and therefore have to stay. This counts for Felix Brych, Mark Clattenburg, whose teams made the strongest impression so far from my point of view, as well as Jonas Eriksson and Nicola Rizzoli. Both had some mistakes in their matches, but both are absolutely needed for the top clashes UEFA will face.
Björn Kuipers did well in his first game and got the honour of a very important and problematic match (Croatia vs Spain) two days ago. Regardless whether UEFA deemed the penalty or its execution as wrong, I think he will definitely stay. Cüneyt Çakır did not convince me at all at this competition, also integrating his past performance level which was by far better. He still showed solid performances, but no top performances. And actually, one can expect top performances from top officials with a reputation like Cüneyt Çakır.
Viktor Kassai and Damir Skomina both had one good, expected level game without too many problems and one performance which did not fully meet the requirements each. However, both performances were not as bad as they would rule them out to my mind. And probably, all their big calls were supported. So I expect them in the KO stage roster.
Polish Szymon Marciniak showed two strong performances with full match control, a correct penalty kick and a low card average. But - he missed a relatively clear penalty in favour of Austria yesterday. Difficult to say whether this rules him out - probably not. Maybe this lowers his chances for bigger matches, but it should be enough for a Round of 16 tie.
Milorad Mažić's case is more difficult, as his assistant missed a goal resulting from an offside decision - but as elaborated in an article on the blog, I don't think that he can be blamed. Mažić himself showed ambivalent performances: On the one hand, full control and acceptance, pleasant game-management - on the other hand, he missed 4 clear and undeniable yellow cards and gave another rather wrong one taking both matches together, which lowered the overall image. He could be a name for England vs Iceland and therefore remained. Difficult case and a shaky candidate.
Same goes for Sergei Karasev, who fully convinced in Romania vs Switzerland, but who awarded a controversial, if not wrong, penalty in his second game (Iceland vs Hungary). However, the overall impression - also paying attention to how big the Russian team's chances were estimated before the tournament - they clearly exceeded the expectations and might be rewarded for that.
Now let's come to 7 officials who are more in danger.
Three officials who - in my view - have to go because everything else would be unfair to the high-performers of this competition are William Collum, Svein Oddvar Moen and Carlos Velasco Carballo.
The Scottish-Irish team started well into the tournament, but the first 60 minutes of Czech Rep. vs Turkey belong to the worst refereeing I have seen so far at this EURO (slightly lost the full control, no suitable approach, too, but not always predictable tolerant line, match becoming heated by that).
The Norwegian referee team did not fulfill the requirement in any of their games. It has to be said like that: Their performance level has been simply disappointing. Keeping in mind Moen's performances in Champions League over the last season(s), this circumstance has not totally come out of the blue though. Moen's idea of refereeing might have produced serious doubts about his capability of refereeing at the highest level to say the least.
Carlos Velasco Carballo might have had his personal final in Slovakia vs England some days ago. In both matches, he did not fully convince, at least one blatant crucial mistake with group-influencing character was made. He did not have a clear line and did not find the right approach in Albania vs Switzerland, the handball error and missed elbow in his second match did not really improve the rather first, not that positive impression.
Apart from them, there are several officials who have not convinced me in terms of body language, control, self-presentation, refereeing abilities in big games etc.: Pavel Královec and Clément Turpin. While Královec did not do a bad job - but simply was not at his colleagues' level - Turpin showed why he should not have been chosen for this EURO in his first game (Austria vs Hungary). Wide passages of that game and the complete Northern Ireland vs Germany (which was extremely easy) tie were quite good / Ok though. I nonetheless doubt that this is enough to make him stay at the tournament. Královec' Team, Turpin both do not possess the necessary experience, and both did not show the excellence needed to come into question for bigger games - which means that they are actually no option for the KO phase.
The latter also counts for Ovidiu Alin Hategan, who performed well in his first game, but - according to what our observers reported - did not do well in his second game yesterday evening. So - difficult, but I rather think he will be sent home and can focus on the Olympic Games then. He was the youngest and maybe most inexperienced referee before the tournament, so that this would not come totally unexpected.
The biggest ? is Martin Atkinson in my opinion. Hardly satisfying in Germany vs Ukraine, but absolutely good and solid in Hungary vs Portugal, with very good assistant referee performances in both games. I personally do not see matches where he comes into question and with Clattenburg waving England's flags in the KO stage for sure, it could become difficult for UEFA to find matches for both officiating crews. Difficult.
I think, UEFA will keep the following officials for sure:
Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Çakır (TUR), Mark Clattenburg (ENG), Jonas Eriksson (SWE), Viktor Kassai (HUN), Björn Kuipers (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Nicola Rizzoli (ITA) & Damir Skomina (SVN)
Shaky Candidates, with a tendency to stay:
Sergei Karasev (RUS), Milorad Mažić (SRB)
Shaky Candidates, with a tendency to be sent home:
Martin Atkinson (ENG), Ovidiu Alin Hategan (ROU)
I think, UEFA will send the following officials home for sure:
William Collum (SCO), Pavel Královec (CZE), Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR), Clément Turpin (FRA), Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Based on that, predictions (assumed that Atkinson will stay):
Switzerland vs Poland: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
Wales vs Northern Ireland: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Croatia vs Portugal: Felix Brych (GER)
France vs Ireland: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Germany vs Slovakia: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Hungary vs Belgium: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Italy vs Spain: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
England vs Iceland: Viktor Kassai (HUN)