Mark Geiger

The World Cup Team Preview You Didn't Know You Needed: The Referees by McG

The spectacle of the World Cup is upon us once again. Story lines are already emerging, from Mo Salah’s shoulder and how it may drive the fate of his Pharoes, to the evergreen “will Messi finally win on the international stage?”, and of course whether or not the worst ranked host nation will manage to progress from what is statistically the easiest group in the modern era… But there’s myriad journalists and bloggers covering that already.

I’m here to talk about the inevitable villain of this most revered of tournaments, and no I’m not talking about Дядя Вова. No, of course I’m talking about referees who will emerge as the foulest characters of this world cup, unless Nigel De Jong comes out of retirement and files a one time switch. It’s doubtful referee scandals will etch themselves into the collective memory like Hugh Dallas in the minds of USA fans or Byron Moreno for Italians – though already this tournament has had a whiff of scandal as Saudi referee Fahad Al Mirdasi was suspended from the competition before the first kick after being caught in a match fixing scandal.

Read More