The World Cup is the highlight of the soccer calendar. Every nation on the planet competes to take part in the World Cup finals. And, once every four years, the best 32 teams come together for the ultimate competition to be crowned champions of the world. And, overseeing proceedings at every match is the referee. The person who makes sure everyone abides by the rules. Who makes decisions that can sway the game one way or the other. Who dishes out punishments when players break the rules. The official who has the final say on the field. Not just anyone can be the ultimate judge at the biggest completion on the globe. These elite referees are specially chosen from the best of the best. World Cup referees can come from any country, but they all have one thing in common – they know the game inside out and keep up with rules that are forever changing. Whether you call it soccer, football, footy, or “The Beautiful Game,” do you have what it takes to be a World Cup referee?
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FIFA (the soccer World Cup's governing body) selected 36 referees, 63 assistant referees, and 13 video assistant referees to officiate at the Russian World Cup in 2018. The chosen few went through a three-year selection process to ensure they were all up to the job of officiating at the highest level. The referees issued 219 yellow cards and four red cards during the tournament.
That's the same number of red cards handed out in just one game at the 2006 World Cup when Portugal took on the Netherlands. Nicknamed "The Battle of Nuremberg," the match saw the most ever cards ever given in a World Cup match as Russian referee Valentin Ivanov handed out 16 yellow cards and four red cards. Unfortunately for Ivanov, his actions were deemed too harsh, and it was suggested that he give himself a yellow card for his poor performance.
Even at the top level of refereeing, it's still possible to make mistakes. But, whatever happens during a World Cup match, the referee's decision is always final!
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