Ismail Elfath hits U.S. World Cup reffing milestone


Ismail Elfath, who was in charge of Monday's Croatia-Japan round of 16 game, became the second American referee to whistle three games in a World Cup. He matches Mark Geiger, who was in charge of three games at both the 2014 and the 2018 World Cup.

U.S. assistant referees Kyle Atkins and Corey Parker teamed up with Elfath on all three games.

Five other referees have been assigned three games in the tournament's first 56 games: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil), Iva Barton (El Salvador), Clement Turpin (France), Fernando Rapallini (Argentina) and Cesar Ramos (Mexico).

U.S. referees: World Cup history

1970. Henry Landauer (Sweden-Uruguay)
1982. David Socha (Scotland-New Zealand)
1986. David Socha (South Korea-Italy)
1990. Vinnie Mauro (Belgium-South Korea)
1994. Arturo Angeles (Argentina-Greece)
1998. Esse Baharmast (Spain-Nigeria, Brazil-Norway)
2002. Brian Hall (Nigeria-England, Italy-Ecuador)
2014. Mark Geiger (Colombia-Greece, Spain-Chile, France-Nigeria)
2018. Mark Geiger (Portugal-Morocco, South Korea-Germany, Colombia-England)
2018. Jair Marrufo (Belgium-Tunisia)
2022. Ismail Elfath (Portugal-Ghana, Japan-Spain, Croatia-Japan)
Note: In parentheses are games refereed.

U.S. officials in World Cup 2022 games so far

Denmark 0 Tunisia 0, Nov. 22: Armando Villarreal (assistant VAR).
France 4 Australia 1, Nov, 22: Kyle Atkins (offside VAR).
Japan 2 Germany 1, Nov. 23: Armando Villarreal (assistant VAR), Kathryn Nesbitt (offside VAR).
Portugal 3 Ghana 2, Nov. 24: Ismail Elfath (referee), Kyle Atkins (AR), Corey Parker (AR), Armando Villarreal (VAR).
 Australia 1 Tunisia 0, Nov. 26: Corey Parker (offside VAR).
Poland 2 Saudi Arabia 0, Nov. 26: Armando Villarreal (assistant VAR).
 Morocco 2 Belgium 0, Nov. 27: Kathryn Nesbitt (offside VAR), Armando Villarreal (support VAR).
 Ghana 3 South Korea 2, Nov. 28: Kyle Atkins (offside VAR).
Brazil 1 Switzerland 0, Nov. 28: Armando Villarreal (assistant VAR), Kathryn Nesbitt (offside VAR).
 Argentina 2 Poland 0, Nov. 28: Kathryn Nesbitt (offside VAR).
 Germany 4 Costa Rica 2, Dec. 1: Kathryn Nesbitt (offside VAR).
• Japan 2 Spain 1, Dec. 1: Armando Villarreal (assistant VAR), Kyle Atkins (offside VAR).
 South Korea 2 Portugal 1, Dec. 2: Armando Villarreal (AVAR).
 Cameroon 1 Brazil 0, Dec. 2: Ismail Elfath (referee), Kyle Atkins (AR), Corey Parker (AR).
• England 3 Senegal 0, Dec. 4: Kathryn Nesbitt (AR), Armando Villarreal (AVAR).
 Croatia 1 Japan 1 (PKs: 3-1), Dec. 5: Ismail Elfath (referee), Corey Parker (AR), Kyle Atkins (AR).

Upcoming U.S. refs assignments:
Note: FIFA has assigned games through Dec. 6.

3 comments about "Ismail Elfath hits U.S. World Cup reffing milestone".
  1. John Polis, December 6, 2022 at 8:48 a.m.

    I've watched him develop in MLS and rise to the top, and then get gradually more important assignments in FIFA competitions. Having watched the sport grow and having done interviews with some of the better refs from the past (David Socha and Sandra Hunt to name a few), it is so, so hard to make it to the top. It takes a steady hand, coolness under pressure and a presence that makes everyone feel that the game is in good hands. Elfath has all of these, plus the great intangible -- grace -- as he demonstrated when he had to send off Victor Aboubakar of Camaroon after he scored the game-winner against Brazil for a second yellow after he peeled off his shirt in celebration. As a big supporter of the game in the United States and someone who spent a great deal of my life around it, I'm so proud of Elfath and his American referee team members who have acquitted themselves so well in Qatar. Well done all.

  2. Valerie Metzler, December 6, 2022 at 8:54 a.m.

    Agreed!  I have seen him in MLS and he definitely has that presence of grace.

  3. James Madison, December 6, 2022 at 5:57 p.m.

    Presence and grace are both apt descriptions of the way Ismail's personality contributes to his success on the field. He is awesome.

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