Nicola Rizzoli, 43, is an Italian soccer referee who will be center stage during the 2014 World Cup games in Brazil. After the controversial call made in the cup’s first game, Brazil vs. Croatia, who knows how the other referees will affect the game.
Rizzoli is described as “card happy.”
Here is what you need to know about Rizzoli:
1. He’s Described as Card Happy
Rizzoli was born in Mirandola, Modena, Italy on October 5, 1971. According to his Football Lineups bio, Rizzoli has been a referee since 1998.
As a referee, Rizzoli says his “fondest memory” is the 2006 Serie A match at Roma-Inter.
Rizzoli is known for being “Card Happy,’ and a “Play Stopper.”
2. He Began Working With FIFA in 2007
Rizzoli began working with FIFA in 2007. Although he refereed for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup qualifiers, the 2014 World Cup will be his first Cup experience.
In January 2012, he was voted “Best Referee” by the Italian Footballers’ Association.
3. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson Accused Him of Succumbing to Player Pressure
According to Goal.com, legendary leader of Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson has accused Rizzoli of giving in to the complaints of fans and players. This happened once in 2010, once in 2012, and again in 2014.
In March 2014, Rizzoli overturned his own penalty call after 5 minutes of angry protests, an absurd and almost unheard of act.
4. In International Games, English Teams Almost Always Win Under Rizzoli
In a report posted by the Daily Mail, it was revealed that English teams love Rizzoli. They say that in the 7 international Champions League matches he’s refereed involving English teams, the English won 6.
He’s been the subject of some criticism over the treatment of small clubs versus larger clubs.
5. His First World Cup Game is Spain vs. Netherlands