Jenna’s Thoughts: Potential Referees for World Cup Semifinals and Final
Now that we know who’s refereeing the quarterfinals, thoughts naturally turn to who will do the semifinals and the final.
The truth is, I’m terrible at guessing games, and I don’t understand the things FIFA do sometimes.
So, with those two things in mind, I decided not to try and make any predictions. Instead, I’ll just go through the 25 center referees and give you my thoughts on their chances.
Ravshan Irmatov, Uzbekistan – Quarterfinal assignment.
Yuichi Nishimura, Japan – Nishimura would be a very, very difficult call for a semi or final, because of the famous penalty in the first round that turned out to be a massive dive … though he performed better than it was made out to be. Since then, he’s only been the fourth official once. Lack of game time and probably a lack of confidence will keep him out as much as public perception.
Nawaf Shukralla, Bahrain – Has had a few good performances, but his odds of anything else are probably low.
Ben Williams, Australia – Williams has been progressively better in each of his three games, but I think his experience level will keep him from the last three games.
Noumandiez Doue, Ivory Coast – Fourth official in the quarterfinals. Probably not a candidate.
Bakary Gassama, Gambia – Has only had one match, oddly, though he was excellent in it. I would be surprised if FIFA appointed him to the semis or final with only one match in the tournament, but it’s hard to say.
Djamel Haimoudi, Algeria – Late knockout round match. Probably not a candidate.
NORTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Joel Aguilar, El Salvador – Did well in his matches. Could be a dark horse for at least the semis.
Mark Geiger, United States – Did very well in his first two games, and then had a really bad game in which a player had his leg broken and Geiger only gave a yellow card. Chances are, that photo of Onazi in a cast would haunt FIFA and Geiger if they tried to appoint him to the higher stages. That and general lack of experience probably rules him out.
Marco Rodriguez Moreno, Mexico – Experienced referee who’s had good outings. Could be a candidate for a late match.
Enrique Osses, Chile – Decent performances in the tournament. Might be a dark horse but wouldn’t be expected.
Nestor Pitana, Argentina – Quarterfinal assignment.
Wilmar Roldan Peres, Colombia – Has had a good tournament, but his AR was sent home for wrongly disallowing two goals against Mexico. Not his fault, but it seems difficult for FIFA to give him one of the three final spots.
Sandro Ricci, Brazil – Undoubtedly one of the top three referees in the Cup, but it will depend on what happens with Brazil. If they go through, he will probably be given the other semifinal. If not, possibility for the final, particularly as the “hometown” ref.
Peter O’Leary, New Zealand – Last outing was so disastrous that there was a petition to have him removed from the tournament. Photos of him clowning around with winning Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Eneyama were innocent, but infuriated opposing fans. Hard to see him going forward.
Dr. Felix Brych, Germany – Dr. Dreamy has had a decent, but uninspiring performance in the Cup. Could see him as a fourth official, but I’d be surprised by anything else.
Cuneyt Cakir, Turkey – Cakir has done well and is well-loved by FIFA. Definite candidate.
Jonas Eriksson, Sweden – Late knockout round game, and fourth official in quarterfinals. Probably out.
Bjorn Kuipers, Netherlands – Best referee in the tournament, and probably best in the world. But like Ricci, much will depend on what the Netherlands do in their quarterfinal. If they win, he’ll probably get a semifinal. If not, I’d be surprised not to see him in the final.
Milorad Mazic, Serbia – Could be a dark horse for the final or a semi. Only a FIFA referee for a few years, but he’s the darling of Busacca and company. Caused a stir in Argentina v. Iran with a non-call, but still could be picked for at least a semi.
Pedro Proenca, Portugal – Late stage knockout rounds and decent performances. Could possibly take a late stage game, but I don’t think the odds are that high.
Nicola Rizzoli, Italy – Quarterfinal assignment.
Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain – Quarterfinal assignment.
Howard Webb, England – Has been shockingly good in this tournament, and ran Brazil v. Chile like a boss. He could actually be in the mix for the final, if both Ricci and Kuipers’ teams make it to the semifinals. Obviously had the final in 2010, but there’s no rule against doing consecutive ones, and he would bring the most experience and gravitas outside of the Dutchman and Brazilian.
Featured photo (Bjorn Kuipers): sports.xin.msn.com