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World Cup 2014: A guide to the World Cup referees and which ones England will want to avoid

The low-down on the officials who will be taking charge in Brazil

Referees can have a rather large bearing on the outcome of World Cup matches, just ask England.

Frank Lampard will probably never forget the name of Jorge Larrionda, the Uruguayan referee who failed to spot his long-range effort had gone in against Germany in 2010. While the whole of England will be eternally grateful to Tofik Bakhramov, the linesman who deemed Geoff Hurst's shot had crossed the line in the 1966 final.

That's why the Three Lions, and indeed the other 31 nations competing in Brazil this summer, will be paying close attention when Fifa designate which refs will be officiating which games.

So who will England want to avoid?

Turkish official Cuneyt Cakir is the stand-out name from the 33 referees going to the World Cup. He dismissed Steven Gerrard in a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in 2012, Gary Cahill was sent off in the same year at the World Club Cup Final and Cakir was also the man in charge when former England captain John Terry lashed out against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final. And on top of all that, Cakir has already sent off two men on World Cup duty for England, albeit at junior level. Michael Mancienne and Frazier Campbell were both given their marching orders in separate games during England's 2009 U21 World Cup campaign.

Cuneyt Cakir shows Manchester United midfielder Nani a red card

Another to avoid might be Marco Rodriguez according to an in-depth study by Sports Interaction. The referee dubbed 'Chiqui Dracula' in Central America and labelled a "complete poser" by Graham Poll is the most liberal with the red card. In 79 matches the Mexican with slick black hair has issued 51 red cards, meaning he sends a player off more than once every two games. For England, who were quickly defeated after seeing David Beckham sent off in 1998 and Wayne Rooney dismissed in 2006, red cards should definitely be avoided.

Referee Marco Rodriguez is nicknamed Dracula

Meanwhile the official most free with the yellow card is Columbian Wilmar Roldan. The tallest official going to Brazil dishes out an average of over five a game, with 381 yellow cards shown in 73 international matches.


If assigned Victor Carrillo of Peru it could be a nightmare or a blessing as he's the least shy of pointing to the spot. In his 75 international matches he's given 31 penalties at an average of 0.41 a game.

Good selections for England would be Nicola Rizzola or Pedro Proenca. Both have taken charge of England on three occasions and England are undefeated in all of them. The Three Lions emerged unbeaten against France, Switzerland and Netherlands when officiated by Italian Rizzola, while Proenca of Portugal officiated games against Brazil, Italy and Ukraine.

It would appear the referees selected to officiate the tournament, which includes the Premier League's Howard Webb, include a few who will be prepared for whatever the tournament can throw at them. 

Japanese official Yuichi Nishimura caused such dismay in a game refereed in Congo that fans went looking for post-match vengeance. Unfortunately, a lack of racial understanding from the Congolese saw supporters get their revenge by vandalising Chinese restaurants after the game.

Yuichi Nishimura

In a domestic Turkish league game, the aforementioned Cakir was beaten up by a goalkeeper, Proenca was headbutted by an unidentified assailant while shopping in Lisbon and Chilean official Enrique Osses also felt a goalkeeper's wrath, by being knocked out in a Chilean Premier League match.