Imagine the referee in the plane on his way to this match. An all England match, he thinks, and I'm all German. They'll say I was too strict, I obstructed play with my petty remarks, took the soul out of the match. Merk has a glass of something free, looks out the window and murmurs to himself, 'I'll show them.'
The other Merk
So his bionic eyes still missed very little but he made a point of letting things go and allowing for the run of the ball and keeping all his cards in his pocket. The result was very open play, where many commentators had predicted a strategic wait-and-see kind of match. (But let's give the coaches some credit for this fact as well of course.) There must have been moments though Merk must have wished he would have clamped down a bit here and there, and slowed things down. Play got very hectic at times. In the end Merk pulled just one - inescapable - yellow.
In line with his commitment he waved an obvious hands ball by Liverlool's Arbeloa in the 3rd minute of the second half. An important decision, because it would have meant a free kick to Chelsea in a very dangerous position. Still it seemed quite clear that the foul was not intentional and did not merit a match-swaying decision. As for the rest, some borderline offsides were called and a throw-in was given to the wrong side. That's about it as far as 'mistakes' are concerned.
The match was about 21 OK players and one guy called Drogba. He was the best defender, striker and midfielder all in one. He did tug a lot of Liverpool shirts but hey: it was him against the rest of them.
One more mistake
Merk did make one major mistake. A full one minute round of applause in remembrance of Alan Ball, World Cup '66 winner, who died of a heart attack after the previous semi-final featuring Manchester, was squeezed to a mere 18 seconds of clapping by 'der Dentist'.