• World Cup

England get referee who made Suarez howler

ESPN staff
June 13, 2014
Luis Suarez was banned for seven games for the biting incident © Getty Images

England's opening game of the World Cup against Italy will be refereed by the man who missed Luis Suarez's bite during his time at Ajax.

Bjorn Kuipers is set to take charge of the Group D clash in Manaus on Saturday. The Dutchman was the referee for last season's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. He also took charge of Brazil's Confederations Cup triumph against Spain 12 months ago.

Kuipers, 41, however, famously missed Suarez's first bite on the shoulder of PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal in November 2010 during an Eredivisie clash - an incident which ultimately earned the striker a seven-game ban.

Suarez, the Liverpool striker, committed a similar offence in April last year, biting the arm of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, which brought him a 10-match suspension.

Referees will be under intense scrutiny at the World Cup and the official who took charge of the opening game on Thursday has already been strongly criticised.

Croatia's coach, Niko Kovac, claimed the World Cup could become "a circus" after Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura awarded a soft penalty to hosts Brazil in their 3-1 win.

If there are a serious of errors highlighted for FIFA throughout the tournament, Alex Horne, the FA's general secretary, believes Sepp Blatter's idea of giving managers the right to challenge decisions during games might gain support.

Horne, a member of the law-making International FA Board board member, said: "Don't underestimate the power of circumstance. If we get something happening in the next three or four weeks that is blindingly obvious - like Frank Lampard's 'goal that wasn't a goal' in Bloemfontein - then that could give this real momentum.

"I'm personally not a massive fan of doing something that would interrupt the free-flowing nature of the game but a lot of people have the view that it is inevitable. It needs a lot of thought and I would not be in favour of taking any decisions lightly."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close