FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 24-26)

22 June 2018

Brazil – Costa Rica
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Reserve AR: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)

Nigeria – Iceland
Referee: Matthew Conger (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tevita Makasini (TGA)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Reserve AR: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)

Serbia – Switzerland
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Reserve AR: Yaser Tulefat (BHR)

FIFA to investigate VAR failures

FIFA will investigate the failure of video technology after Harry Kane’s World Cup penalty farce. Kane was denied what looked like two clear penalty decisions in their 2-1 victory over Tunisia after twice being wrestled to the ground by Ferjani Sassi. Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan took no action and the four VAR officials also failed to intervene to leave the English fuming. That comes on top of Brazil also complaining to FIFA, after claiming they were denied two key decisions in Sunday's draw with Switzerland. It has all left VAR in danger of becoming a farce and now the Football Association are watching with interest to see what action the world governing body will take. FA technical director Dan Ashworth has already held a debrief on the game and England believe they were wronged on both decisions, but will not take action of their own until it is known whether FIFA will intervene.
FIFA are likely to hold their own referees’ meeting in the next week and then go on to explain publicly the decisions after introducing VAR at the tournament. It is being used in the World Cup for the first time and, according to FIFA, should only “correct clear and obvious errors and missed incidents in clearly defined match-changing decisions”. There were suggestions that at other infringements on the pitch at the time were to blame for Kane not being awarded either penalty. For the first, there is clearly a push from John Stones on Tunisia defender Ellyes Skhiri before the ball reaches Kane and Sassi, and then for the second it is possible to argue that Kane grabbed Yassine Meriah's arm as the pair tussled. England defender Kyle Walker, who conceded a controversial penalty himself, claims that the players have been left confused over VAR. Walker said: “We’ve had a briefing, but what’s correct and what’s not? When do you ask for it? You don’t want to crowd the referee and say ‘VAR’, because then it is a yellow card.I think you just have to let the referees get on with it and let them take the decisions. They have got a hard enough game as it is without putting any more confusion in it. Striker Marcus Rashford said: “The idea of bringing it (VAR) into the game is spot on. It will improve with time because there are some decisions where they have to at least check whether or not it’s a penalty. I’m sure it’s something they can improve on. We’ve not talked about last night (against Tunisia) specifically, but we’ve had conversations about it previously. It’s a tough one because I think it’s something the game needed. As with everything, it needs improving and I think it will improve in time”.
The Brazil FA also weighed into the controversy after they had two decisions they felt should have been reviewed ignored in their match against the Swiss. Brazilian football’s governing body said: "The CBF requires to know from FIFA the reason the technology was not used in key incidents during the game".

Source: Mirror

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 21-23)

21 June 2018

Denmark – Australia
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devís (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Díaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Bamlak Tessema (ETH) 

Reserve AR: Juan Mora (CRC)
VAR: Mark Geiger (USA)
AVAR 1: Jair Marrufo (USA)
AVAR 2: Joe Fletcher (CAN)
AVAR 3: Paolo Valeri (ITA)

France – Peru
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Reserve AR: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
VAR: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
AVAR 1: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (QAT)
AVAR 2: Taleb Al Marri (QAT)
AVAR 3: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

Argentina – Croatia
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (TAH)
Reserve AR: Bertrand Brial (NCL)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR 2: Corey Rockwell (USA)
AVAR 3: Danny Makkelie (NED)

Brazil requests VAR audio and video recordings

CBF sent a letter to FIFA the next day after the 1-1 draw with Switzerland, in which it questioned the procedures that led to the non-use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR). CBF would like to share with FIFA its firm belief in an appropriate and effective implementation of VAR technology. With that in mind, CBF respectfully requests that video and audio from the VAR be provided in order to verify what actually happened - it says in the document.
In the letter addressed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CBF asks for clarification regarding compliance with the VAR protocol and questions the reason why the technology was not used, in CBF's words, in the two key episodes of the game. The Brazilian players complained before the restart of the game, as soon as the screen of the arena in Rostov showed the replay of the foul. Mexican referee Cesar Ramos, however, did not listen to them. FIFA says the referee was right, but they condemned the replay on the big screen.
"We refer to match 9 of the World Cup, played between Brazil and Switzerland. After analyzing the game, we would like to draw your attention to certain key episodes of the match, which we noticed after a review by our technical department, in particular, regarding the conduct of referee Cesar Ramos and video assistant referee Paolo Valeri.

The episodes are as follows:
a) Minute 50: In the action that led to the Swiss goal, it is clear that the Brazilian player Miranda was clearly pushed and moved away by the goalkeeper. Zuber deliberately pulls Miranda on two different occasions with both hands. The second occasion is clearer, because the bodies of the two players are more distant. The action features a clear foul, which resulted in an advantage for Zuber, as Miranda was unable to reach the ball. The referee did not penalize the foul and Zuber scored the decisive goal.
b) Minute 74: Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji's fouled Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, who, having been committed in the penalty area, would have resulted in a penalty kick in Brazil's favor, but was not awarded.

These two actions constitute, in CBF's opinion, clear errors of the referee, which should therefore have been analyzed by the VAR in accordance with the VAR protocol. On the other hand, the CBF knows that according to the protocol established by the IFAB and by FIFA, it is the referee's final decision whether a play should be reviewed or not and whether the VAR recommendation should be followed or not. Likewise, the CBF knows that the VAR must inform the referee about the actions that can be reviewed, providing him with all the facts and recommending the decision to be made.

Considering what has been said above and in light of the fact that the VAR has recently been introduced at the international level, and it is normal that certain clarifications are provided in the early stages of implementation in this new technology, CBF respectfully would like to be informed about:
1. Mr. Valeri, or someone else in the VAR, suggested to the referee to review any of the plays and how?
2. Did the referee, or someone with the power to do so, ask the VAR to analyze the plays?
3. In any of these cases, what was the communication between the two parties?

Finally, the CBF learned from news reports that the FIFA Referees Committee would have said that the referee decisions in the aforementioned plays were correct and there would be no need to review them with the use of the VAR. In this regard, CBF would like to receive an official position on this subject and, once provided with such a position, reserves all of its rights to comment, also in the light of which possible moves may be reviewed throughout this competition.”

Source: Globo Esporte

World Cup and Euro final referee Gonella mourned

Former Italian referee Sergio Gonella, who took charge of both FIFA World Cup final and UEFA Euro final in the 1970s, has died at the age of 85.
Gonella was promoted to Serie A in 1965 and became FIFA referee in 1972. He officiated the 1976 UEFA European Championship final in Belgrade, when Czechoslovakia defeated West Germany 5-3 on penalties after the two teams had finished level at 2-2 after extra time. He went on to referee the FIFA World Cup final in 1978, which saw host country Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1 in Buenos Aires, also after extra time. After his retirement, Gonella became president of the Association of Italian Referees (AIA) between 1998 and 2000 and entered the Hall of Fame of Italian football in 2013.

Source: UEFA

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 18-20)

20 June 2018

Portugal – Morocco 
Referee: Mark Geiger (USA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Joe Fletcher (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Frank Anderson (USA)
Fourth Official: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Reserve AR: Anton Averianov (RUS)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR 1: Jair Marrufo (USA)
AVAR 2: Simon Lount (NZL)
AVAR 3: Bastian Dankert (GER)

Uruguay – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: John Pitti (PAN)
Reserve AR: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
VAR: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
AVAR 1: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR 2: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
AVAR 3: Daniele Orsato (ITA)

Iran – Spain
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Fourth Official: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
Reserve AR: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
VAR: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR 1: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
AVAR 2: Alexander Guzman (COL)
AVAR 3: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 15-17)

19 June 2018

Colombia – Japan 

Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Fourth Official: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG)
Reserve AR: Anouar Hmila (TUN)
VAR: Danny Makkelie (NED)
AVAR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR 2: Sander van Roekel (NED)
AVAR 3: Felix Zwayer (GER)

Poland – Senegal
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Tulefat (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Taleb Al Marri (QAT)
Fourth Official: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (QAT)
Reserve AR: Mohammed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
VAR: Artur Dias (POR)
AVAR 1: Tiago Martins (POR)
AVAR 2: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
AVAR 3: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)

Russia – Egypt
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Fourth Official: Cüneyt Çakir (TUR)
Reserve AR: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR 1: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR 2: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
AVAR 3: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 12-14)

18 June 2018

Sweden – Korea
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Mora (CRC)
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (TAH) 

Reserve AR: Bertrand Brial (NCL)
VAR: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR 1: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (QAT)
AVAR 2: Taleb Al Marri (QAT)
AVAR 3: Daniele Orsato (ITA)

Belgium – Panama
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee 2: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Fourth Official: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Reserve AR: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR 1: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR 2: Sander van Roekel (NED)
AVAR 3: Danny Makkelie (NED)

Tunisia – England
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian de la Cruz (COL)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Reserve AR: Corey Rockwell (USA)
VAR: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
AVAR 1: Gerry Vargas (BOL)
AVAR 2: Emerson de Carvalho (BRA)
AVAR 3: Tiago Martins (POR)

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 9-11)

17 June 2018

Costa Rica – Serbia
Referee: Malang Diedhiou (SEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
Fourth Official: Bamlak Tessema (ETH) 

Reserve AR: Tikhon Kalugin (RUS)
VAR: Clement Turpin (FRA)
AVAR 1: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
AVAR 3: Artur Dias (POR)

Germany – Mexico
Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
Fourth Official: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Reserve AR: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR 1: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
AVAR 2: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
AVAR 3: Mark Geiger (USA)

Brazil – Switzerland
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: John Pitti (PAN)
Reserve AR: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
AVAR 1: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR 2: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
AVAR 3: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group Stage (Matches 5-8)

16 June 2018

France – Australia
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Fourth Official: Julio Bascunan (CHI) 

Reserve AR: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
VAR: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR 1: Tiago Martins (POR)
AVAR 2: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
AVAR 3: Jair Marrufo (USA)

Argentina – Iceland
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Reserve AR: Alexander Guzman (COL)
VAR: Mark Geiger (USA)
AVAR 1: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR 2: Joe Fletcher (CAN)
AVAR 3: Gery Vargas (BOL)

Peru – Denmark
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jean Birumushahu (BDI)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Fourth Official: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG)
Reserve AR: Anouar Hmila (TUN)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR 2: Mark Borsch (GER)
AVAR 3: Danny Makkelie (NED)

Croatia – Nigeria
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson de Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcello Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Reserve AR: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
VAR: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
AVAR 1: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
AVAR 2: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
AVAR 3: Artur Dias (POR)