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.