As the the tournament is making progress so does Mr. Stark. As one remembers him from the past, he adopted one of the least positive chracteristics of Dr. Merk`s method: stopping the flow of the game during the first 12-20 minutes, thus demonstrating his authority. In the current tournament Mr. Stark changed his strategy into a low profile, letting the players central stage and having as few whistle-blows as possible
One, but one, blemish
The Spanish referee Dauden Ibanez was a fine referee, but almost always, in crucial matches, there came one decisive mistake... Mr. Stark threw away Dr. Merk`s stone, but swapped it for Dauden`s burden: Argentina-Nigeria - Samuel holds firmly a Nigerian defender, prevents him from closing on Heinze, who stays free to score the only goal of the match. Otherwise, a very good performance by the referee. And today there was this incident in the 44th minute, when a shot towards the Korean goal was intercepted by a defender`s hand deep inside the penalty-area. The whistle didn`t go and play went on. Well, I wouldn`t have minded it that much, as I see the player`s arm and hand as part of his body, and not keen of interpreting every hand-ball as a deliberate one. But 17 seconds into the second half there went the whistle, and what for? hand-ball against Uruguay near the half-way line, an offense not more intentional than the one in the Korean penalty-area just a few minutes before. So, my complaint deals with consistency. Otherwis, again a very good performance by the man in the middle, though I don`t like the strict and sharp movement of his hands when he marks an infringement. I would also like him to be more relaxed at times, and...SMILE!
There was a controversial decision in the 27th minute, preventing Suarez from running un-challenged towards goal. I am happy to say, that Mr. Salver, the assistant-referee took the perfectly right decision as the left foot of Suarez was nearer to the Korean goal-line than the secondlast Korean. On the other hand and side, Mr. Pickel let the same Suarez get the ball while in an offside position, in the 71st minute. Though one has to understand that it was a quite difficult decision as the striker was on the right-hand side, close to the assistant-referee, which prevents the latter from having the best perspective for the incident.