World Cup Referees: Thursday, June 26

These appointments came quite late compared to the other appointments, which usually came early in the morning two days before the match was played.

The one other exception: Brazil’s second match against Mexico. Officials had been accused of favoritism in Brazil’s first game, including a soft penalty, and had disallowed two onside goals for Mexico. Cuneyt Cakir was announced for that one quite late.

Before this match, there’s been much talk in the press of possible Germany-USA collusion, particularly since Jurgen Klinsmann, USA’s coach, is German. Since both teams only need a draw to move on, the talk goes that the teams will ‘wink and nod’ and play to a draw.

There is no evidence at all of this – it’s all pretty much speculation – but match fixing has followed this Cup like a dark cloud. No doubt, FIFA wanted to protect their referee (who would be implicated in such a scheme, fairly or not).

So I was a little surprised to see the appointment of Uzbekistan’s Ravshan Irmatov (above, in South Africa). He was impressive a few days ago, but he did miss a pretty big call (handball in the box). Truthfully, I was expecting more of a “statement ref”, like a Howard Webb or Cuneyt Cakir. FIFA may have felt like having a referee from a completely different continent was the best choice here.

Will be interesting to see what happens if this ends in a nil-nil draw…

Portugal v Ghana

Referee: Nawaf SHUKRALLA (BHR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Tulefat (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ebrahim Saleh (BHR)
Fourth Official: Wilmar Roldan (COL)


Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Bakhadyr Kochkarov (KGZ)
Fourth Official: Alioum (CMR)

Korea Republic v Belgium


Referee: Benjamin Williams (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Hakan Anaz(AUS)
Fourth Official: Victor Carrillo (PER)


Algeria v Russa

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Joel Aguilar (SLV)

Featured Photo: Zimbio



  • Irmatov’s eighth WC game, equalling the record jointly set by Benito Archundia, Jorge Larrionda and Joël Quiniou. And something tells me he’ll get many more. Still eligible to officiate at a further two World Cups! Some achievement.


  • The whole “they will play for a draw” thing is just annoying. Yes, it happened before. Yes, Germany was one of the teams involved (the other one was Austria). But what people keep forgetting that it was a very different situation back then.
    1. It was before the last games of the group happened at the same time (in fact this game is the reason why they changed the rules). So Germany and Austria both knew the score exactly and there was next to no risk to their actions.
    2. Back then they could play the ball back as often as they wanted…another rule which was changed in the aftermath.
    3. Germany and Austria didn’t play for a draw. The situation was that Germany would advance with a win and Austria would win the Group if Germany didn’t make too many goals. So Germany made a goal and after that none of the teams attacked. Playing for a draw with the possibility that one Team will be out in case of a last minute goal is way more risky and difficult.

    And that is not even taking in account that the German football fans were positively ashamed of the display of their team. I doubt that another one would be ready to face that level of scorn even if they could.

    What might happen is that if by the 80th minute or so the teams still have a draw, both of them might decide to concentrate on defending the point they have. And I guess it will be a game with two very defensive teams overall, since neither really need a goal to get what they really want. But Germany will nevertheless trying to secure their position as winner of the Group with one or two goals and the US will try everything to get what they need to advance for sure.


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