As has been the case throughout this contest, Frank DeBleeckere is at the top of the referee pool, consistently controlling matches effectively and professionally. He has been widely discussed as a possible contender for a semifinal or even the final match.
Style of Refereeing
One of the things that became obvious in this game from early on was that DeBleeckere was going to allow the teams to play through as many trifling fouls as possible. There were a few times when he let play continue through when I thought a foul should have been awarded. However, the ability to adjust his refereeing to the needs of the game and the teams is a coveted skill that few have mastered.
A Word About the Commentators
The referees have consistently been in the news during the tournament. Most of the news has been because of incorrect or controversial calls. The press is understandable, but what is inexcusable are commentators who have no idea about the laws of the game trying to interpret a referee's decision. For example, when an offside infraction has occurred, the referee cannot, under the laws of the game, apply advantage. Offside is NOT a foul and advantage can only be applied to fouls. Several times, I've heard the commentators suggest that the benefit of the doubt should have been given to the attacking player because he was nominally offside. No! Read law 11! Offside is offside. In many cases during this tournament, the commentators have done more to add to the problem than they have done to help.
(Frank on this match
An even match but not very interesting. Hardly any chances and a lot of bickering. Frank writes that the audience must have been bored. The Belgians complain about the fact they have to run for another 30 minutes, not that Frank has trouble with his physical condition, it's more a lack of interest. The Belgians were almost invisible and that is the way they like it.)