Thoughts on the Referees: Day Six

The showpiece today was Brazil v. Mexico and what a showpiece it was, thanks in part to the refereeing crew.

But we start with the Mexican referees…

Marco Rodriguez (Mexico), Belgium v. Algeria
First of all, this guy loves his hair product, doesn’t he?

Rodriguez tended to let a lot of potential fouls go, but it was equal for both teams, and contributed to the flow of play.

The penalty call was spot on, and the ensuing yellow card to Jan Vertonghen (above) was appropriate. There was no denial of goalscoring opportunity that I could see, but the foul was cynical, so the card on top of the penalty kick was understandable.

I also liked how he handled several issues with the players on the ground. He gave the downed player the benefit of the doubt in each case, and focused his concern on them, not the players or managers yelling at him that they were faking it. He also refused to let opposite players near them until he was sure their intentions were good and they weren’t trying to start fights or force the  player up. A simple thing, but it stood out for me.

Wasn’t quite as impressed with his ARs, who missed a couple of offside calls. Overall, though, this is a strong team.

Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey), Brazil v. Mexico
Cakir started off calling this game very tight … a little too tight for the Mexican family I watched with at the tacqueria across the street.

But it’s a classic refereeing ploy in big games. Start off the first 15 minutes establishing yourself as the guy in charge and letting people know that you have no problem making the big calls. The hope is that after that, the teams will calm down and not test you as much…

It was also not out of character for Cakir…he’s known as card-happy. Still, I was surprised that he didn’t get his yellow card out til late in the first half.

However, he had strange moments of leniency, including Thiago Silva’s flying tackle on Chicharito.

Mostly, though, I thought he had a solid performance.  I should note that many of my Twitter followers thought he was more than just solid, and was actually quite impressive.

Nestor Pitana (Argentina), Russia v. South Korea
Pitana is an impressive presence on the pitch. He’s firm with the players, but is also personable, seen laughing with a player here or there. His fitness is excellent.

He also did a good job of communicating with the players, even though there were clearly language barriers. When he explained to the Korean players that Ki was being carded by shaking his head emphatically and showing two fingers, I knew exactly what he was saying and so did Korea:

He’s done it twice now and he’s going in the book.

There was some controversy when Pitana failed to call a handball in the box in the lead up to (the super dreamy) Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s equalizer. The Russian defender had his arm tucked tightly, but it did appear to hit his shoulder and upper arm. Pitana let it go, and I’d say that’s the right call. The ball rocketed toward him, he couldn’t get out of the way and was clearly not trying to direct the ball with his arm. I think it was the right call.

At the end of the day, I liked this big referee.

What did you think of Rodriguez, Cakir, and Pitana? Tell us below.

Featured photo: Yahoo sports

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