Top Refs Headed to Germany and Jurgen Klinsmann Takes My Advice
Looks like Germany’s coach/former captain/resident of the Golden State has been reading my posts to this website, because just yesterday I predicted that Arsenal netminder Jens Lehmann would supplant his rival Oliver Kahn as the one to protect the host country’s goal at the upcoming World Cup. Now, less than twenty-four hours later I learned from the BBC that Klinsmann has indeed chosen the Gunners’ ‘keeper to be Germany’s #1.
Some may find this surprising, especially in light of the fact that Kahn was selected player of the tournament when he captained his side to a second-place finish behind Brazil at the 2002 World Cup finals, but not me. Lehmann has been in spectacular form as of late whereas Kahn has languished by comparison for both club and country.
Naturally, Kahn is disappointed, even hinting that he might opt to remove himself from the team, stating that “I will consider my future with the national team over the next few weeks and announce my decision at an appropriate date”. To that I say, ’suck it up Ollie! Everybody knows that only the best of the best get to play for their country and this year you just aren’t it.’
Which brings me to the other feature of the post, FIFA’s announcement of the twenty-three referees who will officiate the matches at this year’s tournament. Now, for those of you who’ve been paying attention (or care), forty-four of the world’s best were invited to Frankfurt last month to attend one final week of training and examination, of which twenty-one didn’t make the cut – American Kevin Stott among those left out.
I’m sure Stott and his twenty colleagues are as disappointed as Kahn. After all, even referees dream big too. And I’m sure every one of us (referees that is) has imagined what it might be like to be on the world stage even if only a small handful of us will ever even be as close as Stott had been.
But to those twenty-three who’ve made it to Germany, I salute you for your commitment to the game that we all cherish. Congratulations and best wishes in ensuring that these are the best and fairest finals ever.
And to learn more about the selection process and who you’ll be seeing keeping the peace on the pitch in Germany, I refer you to this article from FIFA’s website.
Until next time…
JAM ref Prendergast over American Stott!
Gimme a break.
Good ole-fashioned CONCACAF/FIFA politics at work here no doubt. Jack Warner, CONCACAF head, must have some valuable pictures of Sepp Blatter in uncompromising positions IMO to pull this one off.
Posted from United States
Nice blog! And Aaron nice column on refs. I believe there is some evidence for the comment re: Pendergast over Stott. Although I am sure politics is involved to a certain extent, I don’t think it is productive for the US to continue forever in the “We don’t get no respect” mode. As the blog said about Ollie, he will have to suck it up as will Kevin. Too bad for US refs (such as myself) but it is a tough world at the top!
BTW for those refs with interest and the ability to read Portuguese, check out http://www.cartaovermelho.esp.com.br for a Brazilian unofficial perspective.
Posted from United States
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