Thoughts on the Referees: Day Two
As the first full day of group games wraps up, here are my thoughts on the World Cup referees:
Wilmar Roldan (Colombia), Mexico v. Cameroon – The talk of this match are the two Mexico goals that were disallowed for offside. Though Mexico ended up winning 1-0, the disallowed goals were a huge talking point. The truth is, though, Roldan actually had a very solid game. His assistants made the offside call, not him, and at least one of them was very close and difficult to see at pace.
Roldan was calm, firm and overall a very steady referee. I think we’ll see him again.
Nicola Rizzoli (Italy), Spain v. Netherlands – This was classic Rizzoli (above). He established himself as in control, and took no crap from anyone. There was a bit of question about the penalty that he awarded Spain, but it could certainly be defended, and ended up not mattering in the eventual Netherlands rout. He did miss an apparent headbutt by Diego Costa, though he immediately acted to keep the two players involved calm even though he didn’t see it.
The truth is, though, his temperament was perfectly suited to the two teams, and he kept them playing football instead of at each others’ throats. I was especially impressed with his assistants, who had no problem stepping in to help keep things calm from the sidelines.
He remains one of my favorites for the final.
Noumandiez Doue (Ivory Coast), Chile v. Australia – I didn’t know what to expect from the Ivorian team, but they did quite well. The assistants especially were quite on the ball, and made several spot on calls. Doue himself was practically invisible, which is a very good thing.
My concern about Doue is that he was almost too laid back. Chile and Australia were very polite to and respectful of each other, and perhaps he was reacting to that. But there is a question as to whether he could handle a more contentious match, or if his relaxed style could backfire. We’ll definitely see him again, though.
All in all, despite the Mexico goals, it was a decent showing from FIFA’s referees.