Friday’s referees reviewed
Two of the most exciting and unpredictable matches of the finals took place today with some paying the penalty for sloppy mistakes and others stamping their names on the finals in the worst way possible. After being hung for some of the opening round stalemates, drawn in by the round of 16, we were finally quartered today.
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)
Yellow cards: 5 – Van Der Wiel, Heitinga, Ooijer, De Jong (Holland) Bastos (Brazil)
Red cards: 1 – Felipe Melo (Brazil, straight red)
In an intense contest which eventually saw Dunga’s side lose their rag, (and the coach lose his job) Nishimura had a hard job on his hands with two very physical sides who only had victory on their minds – and didn’t react well when it didn’t go their way.
He found it difficult to get the game under control early on as a mixture of ferocious challenges and rather flimsy dives punctuated the action. Any time he blew his whistle, he had players surrounding him and was caught between penalising tackles which players had overreacted to and letting play flow when a foul had been committed.
I respected his decision to avoid giving out yellows that would have been deserved in a game with lower stakes but there is an argument that a definitive card to a petulant player may have calmed down others, such as to Mark Van Bommel for cumulative fouls.
Felipe Melo’s red card was very clear and a child of frustration from a player who didn’t know how to control his emotions. After tripping Arjen Robben, the defensive midfielder stamped on Robben’s prone legs in a moment of utter spite – ending Brazil’s campaign in disgrace.
Robben could have already seen Michel Bastos sent off for his persistent roughness against the winger – when Bastos was already on a caution, Nishimura let him off with a warning when other officials may have been stricter.
Robinho also did well to avoid being carded as he vocally abused Dutch players and seemed aggressive when decisions didn’t go his way. One man who found his way into Nishimura’s book early on was Johnny Heitinga when he cynically tripped Luis Fabiano when he’d found his way into space.
One booking which will be costly for the Oranje is Gregory Van Der Wiel’s caution for diving, ironically simulating that Melo had fouled him. Dutch fans will feel aggrieved that more Brazilians weren’t pulled up for the same offence but that does not excuse Van Der Wiel.
Perhaps an even greater headache for Bert van Marwijk going into the semi-final is Nigel De Jong’s absence who was booked for pulling back Robinho after a succession of fouls throughout the game. This actual incident was a clear yellow but the extent of his infrigements added up for a reasonable caution.
Andre Ooijer hardly covered himself in glory being slightly at fault for Brazil’s goal and eventually was carded for kicking the ball away late on as Holland battled to keep their lead. In effect, this has no effect as yellow cards are wiped clean after the quarter final stage.
This was a tough give to keep in check and Nishimura gave a decent effort. It wasn’t perfect and sticklers will point out certain tackles which should have gone another way but by in large he got the big calls right, regained some command over the contest and had the right approach mentally even if he wasn’t able to apply it ultimately. I don’t think we’ll see him back but he has a good tournament and is proof that Asia is producing some strong officials.
Refs rating: 7/10
Referee: Olegaria Benquerenca (Portugal)
Yellow cards: 6 – Fucile, Perez, Arevalo Rios (Uruguay) Sarpei, Pantsil, John Mensah (Ghana)
Red cards: 1 – Suarez (Uruguay, straight red)
In one of the most dramatic games of the World Cup, Benquerenca changed through styles like some teams have desperately switched through tactics, trying to hit upon the right one.
It should be said, as a point of interest, that Howard Webb was the original choice for this game but the Uruguayan federation refused, concerned that he might try and exact revenge for Jorge Larrionda’s failure to spot Frank Lampard’s ghost goal.
I think Webb would have made a slightly better bash as it than Benquerenca but while he did make mistakes, it wasn’t too bad overall. He did whistle quite frequently but also balanced this with some decent advantages, for example when Luis Suarez went down and he played out, allowing Ghana to counter-attack and nearly score through Asamoah Gyan.
It was these two players who would prove to leave a lasting footprint on this match. If we skip to the final minute of extra-time for the moment, we can find little to argue with when from a late corner Dominic Adiyiah’s first shot was blocked on the line by Suarez’s legs but when he headed the rebond towards goal, Suarez pushed it away with his hands.
Thankfully the linesman spotted the infringement, Ghana were awarded a penalty and Suarez was given his marching orders – we won’t see him again in this tournament unless Uruguay reach the final. It was a definitive red card, but ultimately except for his suspension had no outcome on the game as Gyan smacked the spotkick against the bar and it may have even been a blessing in disguise for La Celeste as despite Gyan dispatching from 12 yards in the shootout, it may have psychologically rocked the African side.
Turning back the clock to the rest of the game, Uruguay should have had a penalty of their own when John Pantsil brought down Sebastian Abreu in the box in the first-half of extra time but Benquerenca didn’t see it as such and didn’t penalise the defender.
Pantsil was already on a caution having received one for bringing down Jorge Fucile in the first-half who will no doubt be sore tomorrow after a punishing game.
The Portugese official was incosistent throughout, sometimes deciding to have a period of letting the game flow, then becoming very finicky and then having a quick burst of cards.
Egidio Arevalo Rios’s bodycheck on Kevin Prince Boateng didn’t deserve a booking whereas Diego Perez’s leg-swipe on Kwadwo Asamoah may have been a red card if spotted by other officials and the midfielder should feel fortunate to escape with a yellow.
The other bookings were probably appropriate – Hans Sarpei’s pullback on Suarez and John Mensah’s berating of Benquerenca both earned them cards but that will prove an irrelevant side note for the Ghanian side after tonight.
I was mildly surprised by Benquerenca’s selection for this game as he doesn’t lead the players in how he wants the rules to work and where he’s going to draw the line, meaning you have a mixed atmosphere over the pitch and not enough cohesion from the officials.
But he didn’t let the match get out of control, tried to be fair to both sides and while I think this is his final bow in South Africa, he can look back at a finals in which he did okay, sometimes showing his potential talents and at other times demonstrating his limits.
Refs rating: 6.5/10
Our usual nod to our twitter page follows here and look, there it is again.
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan) assistants: Rafael Ilyasov (Uzbekistan) and Bakhadyr Kochkarov (Kyrgyzstan), fourth official: Jerome Damon (South Africa)
Referee: Carlos Batres (Guatemala), assistants: Leonel Leal (Costa Rica) and Carlos Pastrana (Honduras), fourth official: Benito Archundia (Mexico)
what about the 3-4 incorrect offside calls in the Ghana game- there were two missed on one play – played through to a plaer in an offside position who shoots and rebounds to a player on an offside position on the shot. If you consider these then the mark for the team has to go down to a 5.5 I think
I believe Benquerenca and his team were favoring Ghana quite clearly. The first half ended with 13 fouls by Ghana and 5 by Uruguay and even so, only Uruguay had a yellow card. Then there’s the penalty in Uruguay’s favor which he missed. A strong foul against Cavani on the edge of the box which was totally ignored. The offside call that is mentioned in this article. And in the last two plays of the match there’s a non-existent offensive foul called against Abreu, and then a non-existent and crucial foul called in favor of Ghana which almost decided the match.
Of course, being Uruguayan I’m not objective, but consider this: even after winning the match and celebrating all night I still can’t shake the feeling that we were being “cooked” in this game.
nishumura have a good game with good call. however i strongly feel that more brazil player should be cautious. brazil is having discpline action and even their coach dunga. all this will definitely prove to their lost.
Posted from Seychelles
Pablo, you must really be paranoid. Or a sore winner. Your team won because your best player is a cheat. So much talent in such a young player and all wasted because of his attitude and disrespect for the game.
What were you looking at that I did not see. Yuichi Nishimura (Japan) has to be one of the worst referees of any matches. He never gained control of the match. The Dutch and their style of play especially Robbins should have rendered several red cards throughout the match. The Brazilians lost their cool and definitely should have handled this better but the Robbins flopping led to the free kicks that led to the Felipe Melo mishaps. Why does Seth Blatt and his inexcusable pompous attitude about the officiating be allowed to get away with one of the worst refereed tournaments of all times? This is clear to any fan no matter who you are rooting for that it is time to clean up the game and eliminate the referees who do not score well for the quarterfinal and semi-final matches. Nishimura rating for this match 2 out of 10. Very very poor refereeing…
bryan you must be a brazilian fan. you lose correctly in the game. robben have always play fairly and all the tackle on him had contact.
in the laws of the game say attempt to trip or trip a player is a foul. go and check yourself and you see. accept that you were a bad loser on the night.
mr nishimura had a good game even all the critics. even if yopu bring collina to refree the game it will be the same plus with brazil more card.
Posted from Seychelles
I don’t believe my personality should be the point of debate here. I concede that the last play by Suarez was polemic, however it was called, and played out according to the rules. Also, this doesn’t address any of the arguments I put forth.
@ Reynold Bryan
he was one of the best referees and very fast in his decisions. The brazilian players did use drugs or something, robben is a realy good player and the brazilian’s constantly search his weak hamstring, especially felipe melo, one of the worst brazilian players i’ve ever seen…what a laugh he is, pathetic.
Posted from Netherlands
I thought Nishamura had one of the better games of the tournament. Sure there were a few things that could’ve been better, but overall he did very well. I could easily see him getting the final with the fact that he’s from far away Asia helping him…especially if Germany makes it because they will object to the Argentinian Baldessi.
I thought the ref in the Ghana/Uruguay game was just ok…a little too involved at times. The game didn’t flow…which isn’t always the referees fault.
Netherlands players got away with outrageous fouls in the final game which was sloppily played because of the Dutch teams lack of football acumen and they tried to turn the game into a dirty game and still lost including a kick in the chest and no red card. Dutch lose again just like all the teams that never win the World Cup and are maidens to the championship game. You will not even make it to the final eight in Rio.
Now go cry in your orange Erwtensoep!!!
Posted from United States
Comments are closed