Thoughts on the Referee: Nicola Rizzoli and Germany v. Argentina
You know what?
I thought Nicola Rizzoli was great.
He took control of this match right from the start and never relinquished it. He was fair, communicated well and gave an air of confidence that you just can’t fake.
He owes a lot of his success – in this game in particular – to his outstanding ARs, Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani. You can’t have a successful offside trap without ARs who are truly on the ball, and these guys were. I saw very little they got wrong.
In fact, you could nitpick a few things here or there, but overall, the Italian gave one of the more solid performances we’ve seen in this tournament.
And in the spirit of nitpicking, here are a few things I saw:
- The free kick given right outside the box about two minutes in was correct. Muller was chesting the ball down, and the Argentine defender bumped him right before he could.
- Offside on Muller at 27 was correct.
- The yellow card on Bastian Schweinsteiger was soft…there was a push in the back. Could have been a free kick, but you get the impression Rizzoli wanted to make a point.
- The disallowed Argentina goal was absolutely correct. Higuain was WAY offside and Andrea Stefani raised the flag immediately.
- The Hoewedes yellow could easily have been a red, as high and hard as it was. Awful challenge. We only saw the impact on replay; I suspect if Rizzoli had seen it, he would have acted, but I don’t know for sure.
- He played advantage when Andre Schurlle was fouled outside the box; he could have pulled it back but chose to give the corner. You could argue either way.
- I think the foul he called on Higuain at 55, when he collided with Crazy Manny Neuer was incorrect. To me, it should have been an Argentinian throw in, at least, since Neuer punched the ball out before clattering Higuain.
- Mascherano and Aguero yellow cards were both correct; it was clear around 65 that he intended to clamp down on the game
- I personally would have given Aguero a second yellow at 108 for the blow to Bastian’s face. The arm did come up high, but Rizzoli saw it as accidental.
One last thing:
He had a lot of problems with the German bench, who acted very aggressively toward him and his assistants over everything. He did a good job of keeping things calm, but I found their behavior inappropriate.
He left a lot of time on the clock at the end, and the Germans were freaking out, but it was because Bastian Schweinsteiger kept hitting the ground and laying there. No one to blame but him.
Overall, it was an impressive match to cap a very impressive career.