Archive for July 8th, 2010

Some difficult matches can be easy

Some matches are easy for the referees because of the way they manage the players and officials. The players trust them and get on with the game rather than argue about every decision.

Some matches are more difficult because of the attitude of the players but the top referee can cope. Other matches are difficult because of the referee’s performance.

The Spain v Portugal tie in the last 16 was a very poor quality match. Spain were positive but Portugal were negative and contested and complained about almost every decision.

Referee Hector Baldassi of Argentina, however, came out of the match with a lot of credit since he refused to be taken in by the histrionics and what could have been a very difficult tie was well under his control.

The tactical set up of a match can affect its degree of difficulty. This was shown in the group stages match between Chile and Switzerland and it turned out to be a very difficult test for referee Khalil Al Ghamdi of Saudi Arabia

This was always going to be a very difficult match because of the playing styles of the teams and what was at stake.

The midfield became a battle zone. Fiercely contested and often illegally so,

The indiscipline and attitude of the players meant the game was never going to flow.

You could never classify a World Cup semi final as an easy match. There is tension and pressure on players and of course referees and assistants. One mistake can be decisive, whether it be a player missing an open goal or a referee making a wrong call.

Having said that, last night’s semi final between Germany and Spain was relatively straightforward for referee Viktor Kassai of Hungary. There were a number of reasons for this.

Spain are masters at keeping control of the ball and so fouls are less likely to happen. Germany are more direct but they have great discipline and so flare ups are less likely to happen.

Both teams have world class players and that is another factor.

It is most unusual to see a match at this stage of the competition with no cautions or red cards and with a total of only 16 fouls.

This made the match easier for Kassai. He had to conduct it rather than control it and he did this very well. 

Which brings me to my last point.  

Referees at this level must be tactically aware. In the World Cup they will have done their homework on the tactics used by both teams since this can affect their positioning and movement.

In the wider world of football, referees often criticise players for not knowing the Laws of the Game but by the same measure, players could criticise referees for not being sufficiently aware of the tactics of the game.

  • Share/Bookmark

Looking to 2014

We have now reached the Final match and both Netherlands and Spain deserve to be there after their semi final ties. There will now be a new winner of the FIFA World Cup.

Semi final matches are always critical. If you lose – no one remembers you, if you win you will take part in the greatest match you have ever been involved in.

And what about the referees?

The appointment to referee a semi final of the World Cup is in some ways the consolation prize. But it a very hard earned consolation prize.

The two semi final referees, Ravshan Irmatov of Uzbekistan and Viktor Kassai of Hungary had excellent matches and can be well satisfied with their contribution to World Cup 2010.

The better teams won the semi finals and there was no question that refereeing mistakes had affected the results.

Just as it is important for a national team to develop its young players for the future, so it is important to develop refereeing teams at the highest level for the future.

Both Irmatov and Kassai will be back in Brazil in 2014 and they will be the referees whom FIFA will rely on to take the tough matches, as they did in South Africa.

They will enter their second World Cup as better referees with the tremendous experience they have gained from 2010.

There can still be more positives than negatives for refereeing from FIFA World Cup 2010.

  • Share/Bookmark