|Chile u20||-||Argentina u20|
Baffled as we are, by the amount of U-whatever-age tournaments FIFA seems to come up with these days, and frankly, a bit short on staff at the moment as well, WorldReferee decided not to cover the U-20 tournament in Canada. There is however no way we can deny you a report of this particular Semi-Final match, which was equally baffling and resulted in the (temporary) detention of the full Chilean team, and a diplomatic row between Chile and Canada.
Wolfgang Stark, who in various articles is wrongly described as an 'inexperienced referee', didn't do a very good job to say the least. Argentina's players were constantly provoking the Chileans and were diving all over the place. The referee fell for it in quite a few cases and decided in Argentina's favour. Der Wolfgang called 53 fouls (30 of them against Chile), pulled nine yellow cards (7 of those against Chile) and 2 reds (both for Chile).
Stark was out of place. He likes to talk to the players and, having no command of Spanish, wasn't capable of it here. That makes him a strange choice. There were several other decent referees around that did have this faculty. The Bavarian referee knew of course that this was going to be a highly contested match between two arch rivals. His strategy was to clamp down on every little thing right from the start - the kind of tactics in fact his compatriot Markus Merk resorts to at times - which is always a mistake. Once you've pulled a card for one clumsy challenge, you can't keep it in your pocket for the next minor infraction. Stark dealt cards where a stern talking to would have sufficed.
The Chileans got more and more infuriated as everything seemed to go Argentina's way. Against play the Argentines scored the first goal in the 11th minute. Three minutes later, Chile's Gary Medel was sent off after a clash with Argentine defender Gabriel Mercado. The Chilean defender kicked out at the ball, missed it, and just maybe grazed Mercado's knee in doing so. Mercado however reacted as if he'd been hit in the face. Stark ran up, sent Medel off and allowed Mercado to stay on the pitch without as much as a caution. Reduced to ten, the Chileans still managed to fight on but had to sustain another goal in the 66th minute.
In the 77th minute Stark saw fit to show Dagoberto Currimilla a second yellow and red. In response, an enraged Chilean supporter, dressed up as 'el Condorito' - the little eagle, mascot of the Chilean team - ran onto the pitch and tried to make for the referee. He was stopped by some Chilean players and handed over to the police. Somewhere around the same time the Argentines managed to squeeze another goal in, and a few minutes later, when the final whistle blew, the Chilean players themselves went after Stark. Or some of them did anyway, and were held back by their team mates. The referee and his linesmen were then escorted off the pitch by two policemen and stopped near the sideline to allow the crowd to pelt them with whatever they were holding. Plastic bottles mainly. Then they made a dash for the tunnel and another Wolfgang Stark match ended in chaos.
After the match another incident took place around the Chilean team's bus. There are several versions of this story. Some say a few Chilean players wanted to shake hands with their fans but were held back by the police, some say a Chilean player attacked a security officer, some say things were thrown at the police from the Chilean bus. Probably all of these things happened, but it's not sure in what order. A brawl ensued anyway, fist were flying, blood was flowing, players were pepper-sprayed and stunned with Taser guns, hand-cuffed and detained. Chile lodged a formal complaint.