Thoughts on the Referees: Quarterfinals, Game 1 and 2
Note: My somewhat lame only “bright side” to Carlos Velasco’s performance in Brazil v. Colombia was that no one had a broken leg. Unfortunately, it now appears that Neymar has a broken vertebrae and will miss the rest of the World Cup. That challenge – which went unpunished – was the direct result of very poor refereeing and lack of control and can be laid squarely at the feet of CVC.
As a fan of referees, I’m absolutely gutted.
I think the games turned out like they should have, but refereeing was more of a talking point than you like to see. While Nestor Pitana of Argentina seemed to do okay, Carlos Velasco of Spain – who was, quite frankly, a bit of a surprise choice – struggled.
Nestor Pitana (ARG), France v. Germany
I missed a lot of this match due to issues with WordPress, but from what I saw, Nestor Pitana did okay.
I saw him let a few things go, but that is in line with FIFA directives we’ve talked about before. I also saw a couple of potential penalties that he waved off.
But in general, I thought he was fine.
He’s such a big guy, though, and he’s not quite as able to keep up with the play as much as some of the other referees. I also noticed that he called an informal water break, something he’s done in other matches, too. In fact, it was Pitana who called the first official water break of the Cup.
Still, I saw and heard of no major issues, so … so far, so good.
Carlos Velasco (ESP), Brazil v Colombia
Twenty minutes into this game, I thought ‘Hey, where’s the referee?” He was practically invisible, and in a good way; he kept the tempo going while allowing the game to flow and just not making himself the story.
But things quickly started to get away from him…
There was a bit of crazy at 23, when there was confusion over the free kick and a little bit of handbags at ten paces. Colombia was shocked by the fact that a disgusted Velasco just allowed the play to continue and Brazil got the ball. I am not even 100% sure I’m describing what happened correctly; it was cray cray. And yet, quite funny at the same time.
I didn’t think the call at 35 to award a free kick to Colombia was the right call. Both players went in high for the ball and the defender won it. Worse, Velasco then allowed the Brazilians to creep past the line on that free kick, and Neymar was way ahead and was indeed the defender to stop the ball. That shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.
He also missed a studs-up challenge on Hulk’s knee that he should have caught.
I also felt in the second half that the players started going down more and more softly. The players must have sensed that they would get a free kick with slight contact.
The disallowed goal was interesting. It appeared at first that it was offside, and indeed, two Colombian players started off offside. But then it bounced off Brazil’s David Luiz and back into play, so it wouldn’t have been offside. It appears that the AR actually blew for some sort of foul, but no one knows quite what for.
Velasco just didn’t really seem a threat to card anyone in this game, though he blew for foul after foul after foul. He finally started showing cards at about 65, but by that time we’d seen 40 or more fouls. So while I’ve seen games more out of control, this was certainly not the best-managed match I’ve seen.
The penalty for Colombia was definitely correct, and I suppose the yellow card to Julio Cesar was okay. But again, Velasco showed little control by not only letting the Brazilians waste time drinking water while James Rodriguez stood waiting to take the kick, but also allowed Luiz to follow Rodriguez around and talk to him while he was preparing. That just shouldn’t have happened.
Unfortunately, similar to what we’ve seen from Mark Geiger and Peter O’Leary, Velasco started out well, but trying to avoid giving yellow cards backfired and the game turned into a free for all. I put a lot of blame on the directives from FIFA about giving yellow cards, but the referee has to take it on the chin, too.
Not a good performance by CVC.
Featured photo: Getty Images