8 July 2014, 15:48

World Cup Referee Rodriguez Might Be Another player in Brazil Vs. Germany

Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez

Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez

Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez

By Julio Urdaneta

WASHINGTON (VR) – As World Cup semifinals loom, global attention is focused not only on the teams looking for a berth in the final, but in the referees. Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rodriguez, the controversial referee who failed to expel Uruguay’s Luis Suárez after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, is on the spotlight again after being tapped to oversee today’s German-Brazil match at the semifinals.

“It is true that Rodriguez has a great deal of experience,” said Costa Rican soccer analyst Alonzo Solano, who is currently in Rio de Janeiro covering the World Cup. “But for some time he has committed some mistakes that cast doubt in his vision and his positioning on the field.”

Solano cites the infamous bite as an example. “[Rodriguez] must be very well connected inside FIFA, because any other referee would have been sent home after such a mistake.”

German coach Joachim Löw has urged Rodriguez to “clamp down” on aggressive tactics such as Juan Camilo Zúñiga’s kick on Brazil’s Neymar, which caused a fractured vertebra in the Brazilian’s back. Carlos Velasco Carbello, the referee in charge of the Colombia-Brasil game, has been heavily criticized for failing to penalize Zúñiga.

“In this World Cup the football is more about a physical dynamism, tough duels, players who will work and fight,” the German coach said to international media. “I hope the referee tomorrow, Mr. Rodríguez from Mexico, will clamp down on the kind of things we saw last Friday. That physical energy in the match against Colombia went beyond the limits one would expect from a game in Europe. When I saw that match … well, in Europe, 22 players wouldn’t have ended that match on the pitch.”

But Löw’s hopes might fell short, Solano believes.

Rodriguez’s presence at the game raises doubts about how fair the game could be for Germany, Solano said. “I want to believe in the ‘Fair Play’ policy FIFA preaches, but in this and other World Cups [FIFA] has a history of helping the host nation [get to the finals].”

And Germany clearly has a chance to classify. Not only it is one of the strongest teams in the cup, but the Brazilian team seems critically hurt, Solano added.

“Without Neymar and Thiago Silva, the balance tips to Germany, but Rodriguez’s arbitrage could tip it to Brazil.”

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