Thoughts on the Referees: Day Thirteen
I didn’t watch all the games today, because I took some time to off go into the city and watch a game with my Colombian buddy.
I’ll review the referees I watched. Feel free to add your comments and thoughts on the other referees below!
Marco Rodriguez (Mexico), Italy v. Uruguay
These teams required a strong referee, which is just what they got in Marco Rodriguez of Mexico (above). Consistently one of Liga MX’s top referees, this is Rodriguez’ third World Cup and it shows.
He chose a more loose style of refereeing, refusing to call every little touch as a foul, which is good because he’d be constantly blowing his whistle for these guys. Giorgio Chiellini of Italy did everything he could to call the referee’s attention to any little thing (and some imaginary ones), but Rodriguez was having none of it.
His foul detection was excellent, though; he missed very little. He called three handballs throughout the match – brave refereeing considering how many of those have gone uncalled – and he appeared to be right on all of them.
Mario Balotelli’s reckless challenge in about the 20th minute actually could have seen red, considering how high he brought his knee up. Rodriguez chose only a yellow, which would still put Balotelli out of the next match if they’d gone through. He was benched in the second half.
Rodriguez refused to call at penalty on Leonardo Bonucci. Bonucci was definitely wrapped around Edinson Cavani, but there was a suggestion that Cavani was offside. Tough call.
The red card at 60 minutes happened literally right in front of Rodriguez. Claudio Marchisio went right over the ball and scraped his studs down the Uruguayan defender’s shin. Rodriguez brandished the red straight away, and I don’t see what choice he had.
As for the Chiellini and Suarez issue, well…there are no good guys in that matchup, are there? Suarez definitely moved his head toward Chiellini, who claimed a bite, and later video appears to prove he was right. Of course, he then appeared to smash his elbow into Suarez’ face.
Rodriguez couldn’t see any of it because of the mass of bodies, so he couldn’t make any determination and neither of the villains was punished.
He and fourth official Mark Geiger (USA) did a good job of managing the benches, which threatened to clear a couple of times. The behavior from the benches was, as ESPN put it, “less than savoury.”
Tough match. Tough referee.
Pedro Proenca (Portugal), Japan v. Colombia
Proenca is one of the smoothest referees around, and not just because he’s got the slick hair going. He’s just a very calm referee, and you could see it in the way he managed this match.
He did have a few foul calls I wasn’t sure of, but for the most part this was a typical Proenca performance: just steady as a rock.
The penalty I thought was pretty straightforward. Japan’s Yasuyuki Konno left his feet and most referees are going to call that. I will say that same player made a couple of unwise challenges later and it did feel like Proenca almost let things go because he was already on a yellow card. That was just my sense, but it did feel like the guy had a little more leeway after the first penalty.
He let a lot of hard challenges go in the second half, but he seemed to have a good handle on the match.
His fitness is quite impressive, as well. Very speedy referee.
Carlos Vera (Ecuador), Greece v. Ivory Coast
I didn’t watch the whole game, only a few highlights:
The yellow card at 36 to Didier Drogba seemed a little soft, but I could see why Vera called it. Yes, Drogba won the ball, but it was quite a strong challenge, to say the least, and put the Greek player at risk on the follow through. Could have gone the other way, but I didn’t think it was unreasonable.
The yellow card against Serey Die at 68 was not only a good call, but a well-played advantage.
The 91st minute penalty call seemed spot on to me. Giovanni Sio ran right into the back of Georgios Samaras as he’s lining up to shoot, causing him to misfire.
What I saw of Vera, he seemed to make good calls. Did I miss anything?