Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union' Russia hasn't produced great referees. On the big world stage, it was represented by the weak Levnikov and by Ivanov who crumbled in WC 2006. Since then - deep void. Now, Eufa tries hard to prepare someone for WC 2018, which will take place in Russia. They threw a relatively novice, Sergei Karasev, into the mix of Euro 2016 referees, and the outcome was unsatisfactory. In Haifa, Israel they started testing him for the bigger occasion in 2018. And he was found wanting.
Kasarev and his assis
There are crucial mistakes and there are insignificant or minor ones. Unfortunately Kasarev made two crucial one, and both should be attributed to bad luck more than to bad understanding or refereeing. First, there was a penalty-kick awarded to Italy (30'). On first sight wherefrom the ref saw the incident (about 7-8 metres behind the two players), it looked like Ben Bitton's foot clipped the one of Bonaventura's heels. The referee immediately pointed towards the penalty-sport. Replays suggested nothing of the kind (very unfortunate, as Kasarev was very close to the action and in a perfect position). Then came the marchin' orders to Chiellini for a second bookable offense (after 54 minutes). The incident happened off the ball, and the decision was kind of guesswork (which happens in many cases). The ref saw Hemed bundled to the ground, and was sure (and correctly so) that it had to do with Chiellini who was behind him. He made his mind very quickly, and the Italian went off the pitch. Replays showed that as Hemed and Chiellini crossed each other's path, it was obvious the one who came from behind the other had to push slightly in order to prevent an "accident" (however, the first yellow was 'well deserved' - an 'orange foul', kicking deliberately an opponent's shin [27']). Nobody else was either booked or sent off, though Veratti's behavior was really irritating - nasty fouls, arguing and quarreling with opponents, and whining and complaining to the ref. Kayal was second to none but Veratti in these kinds of shenanigans. The minor ones: Kayal's shirt was torn by an opponent, in front of both the ref and ar Averianov, who didn't react (8'), Antonelli lifted one leg twice, when taking a throw-in (38', 45') on Averianov's touch-line without being penalized, Kalugin raising his flag very late indicating an Italian offside which never was (27'), and the referee reacting very late to a correct offside flag against Israel (Averianov, 43'). In the second half, after Chiellini had been sent-off, there were some five minutes where the referee penalized Israeli players for trifles. But to sum it up fairly: bad luck, more than anything else, hampered the referee's performance.