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Who will hold the whistle for WC final?

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 16:59 IST
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Who is going to be the man in the middle when the eyes of the globe are on the World Cup final here on July 9?

A handful of the leading candidates appear to have ruled themselves out with blunders, blowing the field open.

The referees' committee is due to meet Wednesday to decide who will officiate the quarter-finals. Their choices will give a clear pointer as to who could get the nod for the final.

For the 2002 climax in Yokohama, it was an easy decision to make, but with the incomparable Pierluigi Collina now retired, FIFA have a problem.

Quite simply, there is no outstanding ref in the world at the moment.

Two men tipped to take charge of the final, Graham Poll of England and Germany's Markus Merk, have made uncharacteristic mistakes in Germany.

Poll was guilty of the now infamous three-yellow-card trick when a man once thought unflappable suddenly lost the plot in the highly charged first-round match between Australia and Croatia.
When Josip Simunic committed his first foul he was booked, but when the Croatian should have been sent off for a second infraction, Poll noted down the Australian number three, Craig Moore, instead.

That meant that Simunic was finally only dismissed in stoppage time.

It was a terrible howler for a World Cup referee and Andreas Werz, a spokesman for the referees' committee, had little comfort for the Englishman.

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