Knowing the referees should give you upperhand
The referees for the World Cup quarter-finals stage have been named today, meaning betting on who will get the first card and when can be done with a little more accuracy than before.
Last weekend, the head of FIFA’s medical committee said he wanted the men in the middle to get even tougher with dangerous tackles and elbows, another indicator of which players could start seeing yellow and red.
Holland v Brazil – Yuichi Nishimura
This 38-year-old from Japan has already reffed Uruguay v France, Paraguay v New Zealand and Spain v Honduras.
He’s dished out 12 yellow cards and one red – to Uruguay’s Nicholas Lodeiro for two bookings, the second of which was a lunge that could have brought a straight red.
We can expect to see around four bookings in the game with Lucio’s uncompromising challenging coming under scrutiny. He’s 10/1 to be the first booked. Go for a card to be brandished before a goal or a substitution (4/7) too – he booked Patrice Evra after just 12 minutes and Victor Caceras after 10.
Uruguay v Ghana – Olegario Benquerenca
The Portuguese official was, like Nishimura, probably pleased to see his countrymen lose in the last 16, as it meant he can be the whistle man here.
The 40-year-old refereed Nigeria v South Korea and Japan v Cameroon, showing just six yellows. Go for a goal to be scored first in this match (7/4) – it’s happened before Benquerenca’s produced a card in both his previous games.
Argentina v Germany – Ravshan Irmatov
The 32-year-old Uzbek was the youngest man to take charge of an opening World Cup game when he officiated South Africa v Mexico. He also refereed England v Algeria and Greece v Argentina, giving out a positively charitable eight yellows in total.
With these sides attacking mentality and Irmatov’s lenient side, it’s worth going for a goal to be the first major event, at 7/4. And you could plump for Jonas Gutierrez for first card, it’s 10/1 and he’s been booked twice already at the tournament.
Paraguay v Spain – Carlos Batres
The Guatemalan has already officiated Italy v New Zealand and Algeria v Slovenia, two fairly nondescript games that only produced a total of six cards.
The likeliest candidate to be booked first is Victor Caceras (9/1), having already served a suspension.
How tight will the referees be in the quarter-finals? Cards get wiped after this round so players are likely to be on their best behaviour to avoid suspensions – go for a goal to be scored first (7/4) in the Paraguay v Spain match.