Turkish ref for England, Croatia tie

Cakir - To be in action today

Cakir – To be in action today

TURKISH referee Cuneyt Cakir will take charge of England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia tonight.

The 41-year-old has been the man in the middle for two group matches at the tournament in Russia.

He officiated Iran’s 1-0 victory over Morocco as well as Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Nigeria last month.

In those matches he showed nine yellow cards and he also received criticism from Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel. The midfielder was left fuming with Cakir and the VAR system after his side were denied a penalty and later defeated by Argentina in St Petersburg.

The Super Eagles were tied with the Argentines and poised to progress from Group D when defender Marcos Rojo headed the ball on to his own arm in the penalty area.

Nigerian appeals instantly went up causing Cakir to consult VAR for a definitive verdict, before ruling against a spot kick.

“I don’t understand how that wasn’t a penalty,” said Mikel. He looked at the VAR. I asked him, “Did it hit the hand?” He said “Yes”. But why it’s not a penalty…he said he doesn’t know.”

Cakir, who has been refereeing for 17 years, officiated at the same stage in the 2014 competition when Holland faced Argentina.

Cakir also refereed Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match in the Champions League in 2013, provoking the Scot’s anger after sending off Nani for a high tackle in the last-16 defeat by Real Madrid.

Ferguson, who opted not to attend his mandatory post-match press conference, said it was “hard to keep faith” after the decision.

Prior to the match he had told his backroom staff he was concerned Cakir had a tendency to send off players of English-based teams having dismissed seven but never any from teams playing against them.

Those players Cakir red-carded included Chelsea’s John Terry, Gary Cahill and Steven Gerrard.

Cakir refereed Barcelona’s 2015 Champions League final win over Juventus and took charge of the Champions League semi-final second leg between Madrid and Bayern Munich this year. – MailOnline

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