Thoughts on the Semifinal Referee: Marco Rodriguez
Few people expected this game to end the way it did: with a 7-1 Brazil defeat.
In fact, what most people expected – a brutal, ugly display and possibly retaliation for Neymar’s injury – didn’t happen at all and much of the credit for that can be given to Rodriguez.
He could have called an early foul for Brazil right outside the box; Bastian Schweinsteiger did seem to get a last-minute trip in on Gustavo, but Gustavo took several long strides, threw up his arms and fell to the ground dramatically. With the light touch and the drama, Rodriguez decided for Germany in that situation.
He played a good advantage early on when Thomas Muller lost the ball and tried to get it back with a shirt tug, and appropriately called it back when no advantage was forthcoming. Indeed, he played several good advantages.
There was another kerfluflle a little after 15 minutes into the first half. Philip Lahm made a good challenge that Brazil tried to claim a penalty. Rodriguez disagreed and tempers flared. (It’s always hilarious to see guys getting all uppity, and just bouncing off the giant Manuel Neuer like he’s a great, goalkeeping boulder.)
After 26 minutes, with Germany up by four, Rodriguez’ focus had to become just keeping things from getting too violent.
At 61, Maicon dived in the box. Just flat out dived. Rodriguez didn’t fall for it, but he also didn’t give the yellow card for simulation that the Germans were asking for – and that probably would have been correct.
As the game just fell apart on Brazil, his main goal had to be keeping things from getting out of control. He did a really admirable job of that, using his pace, presence and – most importantly – a constant stream of talk to avoid the lack of control we saw when Brazil played Colombia.
Overall, a very good performance by the Mexican team.