Luis Suarez will miss four months of soccer thanks to his rather unsportsmanlike bite in Uruguay’s match against Italy. The referee who missed the play – and the call – however, will move on. Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez is slated to work Tuesday’s semifinal match between Germany and Brazil.
When asked his thoughts on the officiating decision, Brazil’s coach refused to take the bait.
“What do I think? If he didn’t see it, he didn’t see it. Many things happen that the referee doesn’t see. Fouls, something that happens in the game. That was one thing he missed. Sometimes they watch the ball and something else happens out of their line of vision. That is why they have the assistants. I believe, on what we know, that he is experienced, so he is a good choice by FIFA for this match.” – Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
Rodriguez has officiated two games of the 2014 World Cup: Belgium vs. Algeria and Italy v. Uruguay. The latter match included the lone red card handed out by Rodriguez so far in the tournament. It went to Italy’s Claudio Marchisio, sent off in the same match that saw his teammate suffer a suspension-worthy shoulder bite that avoided detection.
“[The play by Marchisio] didn’t seem a red card to me,” said Italy’s coach Cesare Prandelli. “There were some strong tackles, but nothing worthy of a red card. It was a very even game, they never had a shot on goal while we looked for chances. It was a great game tactically, and I think the referee ruined it. A referee can’t be allowed to ruin a game like this. We played a good first game, a bad second game and then we were in control today, until the referee ruined it.”
Italy’s players were upset after their loss, especially given the red card that left them down a man while the far more egregious bite was missed.
“It’s a disgrace,” said bitten Squadra Azzurra defender Giorgio Chiellini, whose shoulder still bore the clearly visible teeth marks after the game, to Sky Sport Italia. “The referee [Rodriguez] decided this game. If either team should have gone through, it was us. Giving a red card to Marchisio and no red to Suarez decided the game. There was a different treatment for both sides and that decided the game and decided who went through.”
Rodriguez has worked two prior World Cups but has never before made it past the group stage.
The Independent had already flagged Rodriguez as a referee to watch for coming into the World Cup.
Another to avoid might be Marco Rodriguez according to an in-depth study by Sports Interaction. The referee dubbed ‘Chiqui Dracula’ in Central America is the most liberal with the red card. In 79 matches the Mexican with slick black hair has issued 51 red cards, meaning he sends a player off more than once every two games.
This is not the Mexican referee’s first brush with controversy. From Yahoo! Sports:
After the 2006 World Cup, Rodriguez was described by English referee Graham Poll as a “complete poser who showed a lot of naivety in his decision-making.” United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann also objected to Rodriguez having been selected for a U.S. qualifying game against Costa Rica last September, as the Americans were due to play Mexico four days later.
Germany and Brazil take to the pitch on Tuesday afternoon.