June 6, 2014

Countdown to Brazil: When the Number of Cautions becomes double-digit...

Today, there is only time for a small telegram to continue the countdown to next week's World Cup opening. It happened 6 (+1) times in World Cup history that the respective referees cautioned a double-digit number of players with a yellow card in the same match. 

Interestingly, the majority of these matches took part in Japan and South Korea at World Cup 2002 underlining the strict tactical approach consistently applied by the match officials during that tournament:

10 Yellow Cards:

WC 2002:   Mexico 0:2 United States (Vítor Melo Pereira, Portugal) - plus 1 Red Card
WC 2006:   Costa Rica 1:2 Poland (Shamsul Maidin, Singapore) 
WC 2006:   Switzerland 2:0 South Korea (Horacio Marcelo Elizondo, Argentina)

12 Yellow Cards:

WC 2002:   Senegal 3:3 Uruguay (Jan Wegereef, Netherlands)
WC 2002:   Cameroon 0:2 Germany (Antonio López Nieto, Spain) - plus 2 Second Yellow Cards
2010 Final:  Netherlands 0:1 a.e.t. Spain (Howard Webb, England) - plus 1 Second Yellow Card

Of course, these statistics show extreme cases where a lot of things went wrong, where referees chose a wrong tactical approach, but where players behaved differently from what is to be expected at the highest level, too. In general, yellow cards must stay the ultima ratio the referees have up their sleeves when previous verbal warnings have failed to reach the aspired goals or when infringements warrant a mandatory caution.

And, as you have probably noticed, I should have mentioned the most unfair World Cup match ever: Portugal 1:0 Netherlands in Nürnberg, 2006, handled by Valentin Ivanov. The Russian sorted out twelve yellow cards and four 2nd yellow cards - and was partly even lenient, kept some eyes closed and missed one or the other direct red card. 

Strictly counting, these were 16 yellow cards making the all-time record. So, adding Ivanov's match to the six above mentioned matches, there were 7 cases with binary numbers of yellow cards. Admittedly, this decreases this post's structural and didactical value 6 days ahead the World Cup...so let's say it happened 6+1 times.. :-)


  1. Anonymous7/6/14 10:33

    I'd be interested in your opinion about Ivanov's performance back in '06. I remember those outraged newspaper covers, and even Blatter criticising him. But watching this video it's safe to say that every incident was worth at least a yellow... Of course it might have been a poor overall management, but at least he was consistent throughout the game.

    1. That's why a few days after the match Blatter was forced to publicly apologize to the referee for his comments on him.

  2. You gave the answer yourself I think. In my opinion all started with the designation. Ivanov showed in FRA-SUI that his line in such games is to caution players right from the start and apply a zero tolerance strategy. In a game like POR NED, one could have maybe expected that a referee like Elizondo or Archundia would have been the better option, but ok..
    Yes, all cards were isolatedly considered at least clear yellow cards. Boularouz should have been off after 10 minutes, a kungfu kick against Kuyt in the penalty area was fully missed, a violent conduct by Figo was only sanctioned with a YC, Heitinga should have been off with a RC instead of YC...so even though he was consistent in giving cards, he was totally inconsistent and never gained authority and respect. His management was unacceptable and helpless - it started and ended with yellow cards.
    No doubt, the players also behaved childish.

    1. (not Heitinga, but the played who fouled Heitinga..)*

    2. Anonymous7/6/14 11:24

      (not the played, but the player ...)*


    3. You must be revisor or lector by profession.

  3. Anonymous7/6/14 11:48

    that about this moment? penalty with Yellow card?
    Minoru Tojo good decision show YL card to goalkeeper.

    1. Correct penalty, one can issue a card for reckless challenge, but not necessary. Goalkeeper's behaviour deserves to be punished by minimum yellow card, but I can imagine a red card for such protests.

      By the way, very difficult situation to assess with regard to Law 11. Of course, referee missed a foul at first, but then... Is Lithuanian player within playing distance? Does he challenges an opponent for the ball by impacting the opponent's ability to play the ball?


    2. In the first situation, it seems a correct penalty. Correct decision to book the keeper, too, even though in a friendly, for blatant and repeated protests.
      About the offside: very very difficult to answer. I think that the defender who tried to play the ball was never physically challenged from the opponent, in the meaning that he probably didn't even know that a player was behind his shoulder, but of course he supposed that by intuition.
      So I think that according to new offside instructions, this offside position could be annulled by the (wrong) deliberate play of the defender, therefore regular action. But of course we can discuss about a so difficult situation.

    3. Anonymous7/6/14 17:21

      red card and penalty?

    4. http://footballrefereeing.blogspot.de/2013/12/late-challenges-by-goalkeepers.html#.U5Mvc_l_tps

      like in this moments

  4. I would like to hear your opinion about two handball penalties whistled in the last friendlies.

    1) Colombia - Jordan (referee Diaz, ARG):
    39:25 match minute in first half (first video)
    In my opinion never a deliberate handball. I really can't understand how you can whistle in such situations. The replay clearly shows that the arm is in his natural position, the volume of body absolutely not increased and in addition to that the players also tries to remove his arm in a certain way. Furthermore, it seems that the ball hit the upper chest and not the arm properly.

    2) Japan - Zambia (referee Jurisevic, USA):
    38:15 match minute in first half (first video)
    Zambia defender is running following the action and he commits handball. Even though at a first glance, one can explain the positioning of this arms due to run's dynamics, watching carefully the scene, I would say that this situation can be punished because the player letting his arms in that position, took a risk... I still think that it was not 100% deliberate but we can accept referee decision here.
    Pic: http://www.imagebam.com/image/0e4d00331537576

    I hope that at WC we will have consistency about such situations, every time it is always difficult.

    1. Chefren:

      By Diaz is not the handball you are saying the one he gave as penalty.
      If you look after that the player #18 of Jordan moves his arm to controll the ball. That is a clear handball penalty.


    2. Oh sorry Carlos.
      You are totally right, this is a clear deliberate handball, very easy to detect... :) I missed that because I focused on the first one.. :) Regards

  5. Anonymous7/6/14 18:53

    uefa referee coach programe

    marciniak-de bleekere
    hategan- melo pereira
    karasev-mejuto glez.

    1. Interesting pairings there...

    2. All these referees are strong candidates for Elite.

    3. Anonymous7/6/14 19:59

      Edward that you think that ref from First Group go to elite?

    4. Anonymous, since there is no middle category between First Group and Elite, those referees are considered the most probable/talented to reach Elite Category.

      It makes perfect sense.

    5. Anonymous7/6/14 20:49

      o that you think from elite to first group go down?

    6. We have to wait whether names like Benquerenca or Lannoy will disappear from the Elite Group. And if the rumours are confirmed (and most of them are) that Eriksson, Proenca and Webb finish their careers after the World Cup, PLC and co. could be slightly in trouble. I have the feeling that in some months, we'll see quite a huge change in UEFA's top refereeing.

    7. do you know why Zwayer and Makkelie (or maybe Kulbakov, Boyko and Madden, too) are missing on the list of referee coach programme?

    8. Anonymous9/6/14 14:59

      Niclas can you have some more information about these referees and their mentors?

  6. Anonymous7/6/14 21:42

    07-06 Brussels 20.45

    Belgium - Tunisia

    Ref: Viktor Kassai

    Match interrupted towards 25 ' further to a violent thunderstorm and the fall of numerous hailstones on the ground.


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