Thoughts on the Semifinal Referee: Cuneyt Cakir

Overall, Cuneyt Cakir had a good game, in the sense that he really didn’t affect the outcome. The match never felt out of control. He started off keeping control but not calling every little thing, so setting a good tone. His communication with the players was good.

The call at 13 minutes to give Argentina a free kick right outside the box was correct, and he was in perfect position to make it.

There was confusion at 25 when he gave a corner, though the ball came off Robin Van Persie last. His assistant saw it and corrected him.

When Mascherano went down, I think that the referee really needed to take control there. After a clash of heads, Mascherano got back up and then took a few dazed steps until he went down so heavily that he had to grab on to Nigel De Jong before falling to the ground. Cakir didn’t call for the medics immediately, though he was standing right there.

Van Persie did control the ball from his chin to his arm at 29, and Cakir correctly called it.

Martin Demichelis kicked the crap out of Wesley Sneijder, but Cakir appeared to miss it. Bruno Martins Indi took out his frustration on Lionel Messi shortly after, and earned a stern lecture from Cakir, but nothing more. Martins Indi got booked – just as Cakir undoubtedly told him he would – right at the end of the first half.

Sneijder was apoplectic, pointing to the spot of his earlier attack, but Cakir just ignored him.

His foul against Demichelis on Arjen Robben was the right call, although Robben worked harder to get that call than he did the ball, which was still accessible to him when he went to ground.

Gonzalo Higuain did appear to be onside on the goal that was disallowed, but it was close.

(Note: I had several people on Twitter say the ball didn’t go in, but ESPN and others said it did. Anyway, it’s all academic.)

The yellow card to Jan-Klaas Huntelaar at 104 or so was a little doubtful, but the look Cakir gave Wesley Sneijder for arguing over it was pretty classic.

Oddly, Cakir allowed halftime to extend by about 90 seconds, and also allowed Argentina to take extra time in the break at extra time, while the Dutch waited for them in their places on the pitch.

He also added only one minute to the final extra period, even though there was an extended injury treatment.

All in all, though, he didn’t have any major mistakes that affected the outcome of the game, and did a pretty good job.


  • His second major international semi-final. And overall, a decent outing for Cakir – with some aspects to improve on..

    As for the final, it has Rizzoli’s name written all over it. If you believe reports that Argentina’s FA already rejected Irmatov (Argentina – Switzerland), then I can’t see the Uzbek referee getting the final showpiece. I know I previously thought Eriksson would be appointed, but he’s just been 4O, and I don’t think Proenca will get another game. So, Busacca and co. have limited options. Even though Rizzoli has had Argentina twice before, he seems to be the only referee available that hasn’t had any controversy surrounding, and has the required experience and ability to handle a WC final.


  • Is Rizzoli going to get Argentina for a third time this tournament? Thats pretty much unheard of.

    If you want a European then I see Eriksson the favorite with maybe Procena working his way in.

    If were going a non-UEFA ref then the only choice is Geiger. I know many here don’t rate him but he has a friend in high places (Esse Baharmast) and I think FIFA are quite high on him.


    • Eriksson and Geiger were both 4Os. They don’t appoint someone a 4O AND give them one of the last four games. 4O is like a consolation prize. There are 14 remaining center refs; if those two were in for the last two games why not utilize one of the remaining 10 guys?

      Geiger is a good referee but he doesn’t have the experience of the others, and as he showed in France v. Nigeria, he can’t control the game without cards and people get hurt. Giving the world’s biggest game to a guy with no high level experience outside this World Cup and only some MLS matches would be a serious, serious risk. I’d expect him to be a force to reckon with in 2018, though.

      The Argentina thing is tough, but I think they’ve painted themselves into a corner. He’s pretty much their only option, unless they want to chuck it all and give it to Ricci, despite Germany beating Brazil, or Webb, despite the fact that Argentina is still sore at England over the Falklands.

      In short, Rizzoli would be a safe pair of hands.

      But, as I’ve said before, FIFA have made some strange choices and there are a LOT of politics going on behind the scenes. Until they announce it for sure (probably Friday), anything is possible.


      • Let me simply remind you that Horacio Elizondo, or Argentina, refereed Quarterfinals and then the Final. Without mentioning, of course, his then record setting 5 matches in total (including the Opening Match, and 2 other Group Stage matches). So… it IS possible Rizzoli or any other referees the Final. In fact, it is the most logical choice Rizzoli. I think germany wouldn’t complain, and much less Argentina, who had two successful experiences with him.


        • The only concern about Rizzoli is that he HAS refereed Argentina twice.

          It’s not unprecedented, though, and I still think he’s the best choice.


    • BTW, if we’re talking about “friends in high places”, I bet Pierluigi Collina and Massimo Busacca trump Baharmast. 😉


  • That…was strange. Well, I missed most of the extended time because I literally fell asleep and only woke up to for the shoot out, but in the first half I was starting to wonder if the ref was deciding the yellow cards based on the behaviour of one player or the whole team – as if he has some sort of “the next one who does anything gets booked, no matter which player it is” approach. But I might be wrong. There was also an odd scene where he was busy concentrating on one foul and therefore missed an even worse one right behind his back.

    Oh well….I look forward to the final. I was actually hoping for Argentina because to my big surprise, they kept the fools to a minimum during this WC, and unlike the Netherlands, didn’t really draw attention to them due to unfair behaviour. It is kind of nice that two of the fairest teams in the tournament came out on top. It shows that in the end, it is not about dirty tricks but about having the best players and the best strategy.

    I hope they pick a good ref and that my team can go the distance. I mean, I can wait. There are so many good players waiting in the woodwork for their chance, the team will get a title sooner or later. But they deserve it so much now, especially Klose. Plus, they have every advantage. All the players should be fit for the final, they had one day more downtime and were able to defeat Brazil…in half of the regular playing time instead of having to go the full distance. And while Argentina has a decent trainer this time around, a lot of the players should still remember what happened the last time they had to play Germany during a WM.


  • It was no goal: it hit the side netting.

    See here:


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