FIFA reduced its officiating corps at the World Cup down to 12 teams of refereees and assistant referees.
Among those retained were Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda
, who sent off Pablo Mastroeni
and Eddie Pope
in the USA's incident-filled 1-1 tie with
Italy, and German Markus Merk
, whose penalty call sent the USA on its way out of the tournament in its 2-1 loss to Ghana.
Russia's Valentin Ivanov
and Englishman Graham Poll
were sent home for their performances, however. Ivanov ejected four players --
an all-time record for the World Cup -- and showed 16 yellow cards during Sunday's Portugal-Netherlands game. Poll awarded three yellow cards to Josip Simunic
of Croatia before sending him off late in the first-round match against Australia. FIFA president Sepp Blatter
criticized both Ivanov and Poll.
Other Europeans retained are Spain's Luis Medina Cantalejo
, who awarded a debatable penalty kick to Italy in the last seconds of its 1-0 second-round
match against Australia, Michel Lubos
of Slovakia, Roberto Rosetti
of Italy, Frank
of Belgium and Massimo Busacca
of Switzerland. Others staying are Argentine Horacio Elizondo
of Japan, Benito Archundia
of Mexico, Mark Shield
Australia and Coffi Codjia
"On the whole, I have been very happy with the performances of the match officials," said Spaniard Angel Maria Villar Llona
, chairman of the Referees Committeee, "even though they were not always error-free, something that is impossible to achieve. So far,
the main objective, to protect the players, has been accomplished."