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?


  • I wonder if anybody was even able to concentrate on the Greek/Ivory Coast game…I nearly fell asleep during it out of boredom (that’s a skill in itself to make a game like this, when there are still three teams with a good chance to qualify, boring). Not much speed asked from this ref…..

    I am not sure about the Italy/Uruguay game…it was a mess from the very beginning and I wonder if a lot of what happened later could have been avoided if the ref had called out some of the players early on and perhaps even pulled a card. In any case, the game again shows that there are situations in which a ref in front of a screen would make a difference. He could have checked the footage immediatly and issued the red card. I get that it doesn’t make sense for every single situation, but I still think that it makes a lot of sense by questionable offsite calls and especially for violent conduct on the field.


    • I see your point. But it actually took a long time to find a video angle in which the bite was evident. Guys like Siuarez are masters at obscuring acts like that. It’s not as simple as having a monitor by the pitch.


      • I agree, video replay probably wouldn’t have helped in this case. The bite marks, however, speak for themselves and I suspect they will be paramount to a Suarez inquiry and suspension. It is clear that the ref was facing the direction of the play and the Suarez incident took place outside his field of vision, but why did the ref not inspect the bite marks at all and why was there no consultation with any of the other ARs? If it was determined that an offence was inconclusive, fine, I’m ok with that, but make the proper inquiries before rushing to re-start the game.

        It reminded me somewhat of the Zidaine head butt back in 2006. The referee in that case was following the play and didn’t see the foul at all, as it was behind him. It wasn’t until asking a few players and then consulting with his AR that a red card was shown to Zidaine. The same duty of care and consult should have been applied today.


      • My brother in law actually saw the bite in slow motion shortly before the goal happened. I can’t have been that difficult to find for a professional who has the material right there.


  • ITAvURU was definitely messy and a hard match to referee. The only thing that really pushes my buttons is that Suarez keeps getting away with his unacceptable behavior, and by that I’m referring to his biting. I understand that the referee can’t do anything about things he doesn’t see, but that’s why we have 4 referees by now. Video analysis by the pitch for such incidents are inevitable in my opinion. I was offended when he assaulted his first victim in the Netherlands, even more when it happened the second time last year against Chelsea, and now, in a World Cup, with so many kids watching, it is simply inexcusable. That incident and no immediate reaction by the officials overshadowed the credibility of the referee team for me.


  • I agree with sebastiano and is not only about the biting bit, i would like to remember he dropped to the floor right away after biting simulating because he knew what he did was hell wrong and he deserves not only a red card but to not be able to play for a year or two. the referee if i was somebody who could i would just try to get him fired because he did nothing good during the match and you could see from the beginning he was helping Uruguay. Red card on Marchisio was a prove of how bad he did, Marchisio was having the ball and was defending it, when you have the ball you are almost always right, but yes he slightly touched the guy’s leg and he gets a red card for what shouldn’t have been neither a yellow nor a red.


    • Marchisio went over the ball,studs up, and scraped his leg down his opponent’s. Easy red card from the referee. Weak argument…


      • Welll to me I found the call a bit too hard, the question was the action reckless or with excessive force. If it was with excessive force it is red, but how I saw it and you describe it was more reckless, and according to the rules reckless is yellow not red. But the referee has a different view on it and we have to accept it. But I do not feel it was such a easy red or not situation as you made it sound.


  • Pingback: Referee for Semifinal Between Brazil and Germany: Marco Rodriguez | PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

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