One member wrote that the North Coreans didn't dare to commit fouls because they might be afraid of being shot. Well, I wouldn't exactly go as far as suggesting this, but due to the fact that the Coreans gave very little space, but played rather fair it was a strange game. Brasil played one half like the French last night - uninspired passing, lacklustre and no fire in their game. There was a very limited numbers of calls so the foul detection by Victor Kassai and the flow of the match was not exactly going to be a problem.
Victor doesn't like to show cards
The TV reporter said that he was less than card-happy and indeed he only showed one all at the end when I already had fallen asleep in the second half. What I liked about Victor was that he took verbally no nonsense, but talking is only part of the high art of good refereeing. Even in a match like this when there are no big control issues you need to show a benchmark what is allowed or not. If there is a clear infringement of the rules and a clear booking, it is bad not to hand it out (tactical foul Brasil 43rd). It's a question of balance, because too much talking will wear out as the match progresses.
As Brasil was more physical, they tended to profit more from Victor Kassai's calls. They looked sharper in the second half, but without that goalkeeping error on the short post, I'm not sure if it would have been the plain sailing it ended to be. Victor Kassai let the Brasilians get away with a few clumsy tackles and believe another one or two yellows would have been necessary.
The issue of control
You all write all about diving and phantom fouls, but why do referees seem to be extremely narrow-minded in a game - say between Argentina and South Corea - it's because if it goes wrong they get the full blame and you almost always don't get it back. If you let go a few important calls in a match like this, the result will be devastating (see for example the Chili versus Argentina U20 WM report on Wolfgang Stark). Players usually react very badly if after contact you don't award a free kick if you do exactly this to the opposing side two minutes later and tend to use self-justice afterwards.
Back to Victor Kassai
If a game is there, the ref looks weak and nobody will not like it. So many refs tend to play safe and whistle more often which can be an issue to fluency. But with Victor Kassai he still tried to talk his way out of the cards in the 75th minute which would create a real control issue in a hot match. I dread he would be torn to pieces if he acted like this. So I'm not actually convinced by his card-handling policy although the actual decision making was okay to me.