World Cup Appointments: Friday, June 13
The referees for the first two days are a very pancontinental bunch, with one referee each from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.
Friday sees one of the biggest matchups of the early stages: Spain v. Netherlands. This repeat of the 2010 final will have huge implications for how the tournament shapes up, and has been given to Italy’s Nicola Rizzoli.
It’s not a surprise, really; he’s at the top of his game and widely considered to be one of the best referees in the world. He also doesn’t take a lot of shit, so hopefully we’ll see more football and less karate in this match.
The only thing surprising is that he’s a European referee with two European teams, something FIFA has tried to avoid in the past. But with only 25 center referees (not counting support), that sort of thing will be harder to avoid.
Still, it’s a big honor for Rizzoli and an indication of what FIFA and Massimo Busacca think of him. It also lends fuel to the speculative fires that he’s a candidate for the final. But that’s a long way away and he has to perform…
Here are the appointments:
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (Colombia)
Assistant: Humberto Clavijo (Colombia)
Assistant: Eduardo Diaz
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (Tahiti)
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
Assistant: Renato Faverani (Italy)
Assistant: Andrea Stefani (Italy)
Fourth Official: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway)
Referee: Noumandiez Doue (Ivory Coast)
Assistant: Songulfolo Yeo (Ivory Coast)
Assistant: Jean Claude Birumushahu (Burundi)
Fourth Official: Roberto Moreno (Panama)
Featured photo: Nicola Rizzoli (uefa.com)