Horacio Elizondo

Horacio Elizondo

Horacio Marcelo Elizondo (born November 4 ,1963, in Quilmes) is a former Argentine international football referee best known for his officiation throughout the 2006 World Cup. Having achieved all his goals in refereeing [ [http://www.ole.clarin.com/jsp/v4/pagina.jsp?pagId=1233247&fecha=20060714 "Hay que darles paso a los más jóvenes"] - Olé newspaper. ] , Elizondo retired after the December 10 match between Boca Juniors and Lanús [ [http://www.ole.clarin.com/jsp/v4/pagina.jsp?pagId=01325941&fecha=20061211 "Sonó el pitazo final"] - Olé newspaper.] , 6 years before the compulsory retirement age.


Elizondo completed studies in physical education, and started refereeing after finishing the AFA course. His debut in the Argentine first division was in the Deportivo Español vs. Belgrano de Córdoba match in 1992. He was named "international" in 1994, and directed his first international match on October 9 1996 between Ecuador and Colombia for the 1998 World Cup qualifications. [ [http://www.fifa.com/en/development/refereeing/index/0,1247,72546,00.html?articleid=72546 FIFA - 'Horacio Elizondo: “Referees need to be clinical'"] . Last accessed on June 1 2006.]

2006 FIFA World Cup

Elizondo was appointed to represent Argentina in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, together with country fellow assistants Darío García and Rodolfo Otero. [ [http://www.prensa-latina.cu/article.asp?ID=%7B1F8DB175-D420-499B-A278-077A9B6A4164%7D&language=ES Prensa Latina - "Elizondo representará al arbitraje argentino"] . Last accessed on June 1 2006.] He officiated three group games: Germany-Costa Rica, Czech Republic-Ghana, and Switzerland-South Korea. He also took charge of the England-Portugal quarterfinal, as well as the final game between Italy and France, becoming the first referee in World Cup history to referee both the opening and final games of one World Cup (English referee George Reader also officiated the first and last matches of Brazil 1950, but the last one, also known as Maracanazo, was not technically a final). Elizondo handed out a total of 29 cards in the tournament, three of which were red, for an average of 5.8 cards per game.

Germany vs. Costa Rica

Elizondo took charge of the opening game of the tournament between Germany and Costa Rica, which Germany won 4-2. Elizondo handed out only one yellow card, to Costa Rica’s Danny Fonseca. The match had a total of 22 fouls and 6 offsides, both statistics split evenly between the two teams. [ [http://soccernet.espn.go.com/match?id=191918&cc=5901 – “Germany-Costa Rica ESPN Match Report.”] ] FIFA's president of the World cup organizing committee Lennart Johansson praised Elizondo performance at the match, saying "I also saw this referee in the opening match and I did not notice him much which is a very good thing." [ [http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=373443&cc=5901 – “Argentine ref Elizondo gets World Cup final”] ]

Czech Republic vs. Ghana

His following match, the Czech Republic 0-2 Ghana group game, was slightly more contentious. In the 66th minute he gave a straight red card to Czech player Tomáš Ujfaluši for a professional foul in the box, awarding a penalty to Ghana. He then gave a yellow card to Asamoah Gyan when he took the penalty kick prematurely. Gyan missed his second attempt.

Elizondo also booked Czech player Vratislav Lokvenc and Ghanaian players Otto Addo, Michael Essien, Derek Boateng and Sulley Muntari, for a total of seven cards. He called 12 fouls against the Czech Republic and 20 against Ghana. He further ruled the Czechs offside 6 times and Ghanaians 9 times. [ [http://soccernet.espn.go.com/match?id=191943&cc=5901 – “Ghana 2-0 Czech Republic ESPN Match Report”] ]

witzerland vs. South Korea

Elizondo was also the referee in the Switzerland 2-0 Korea group game. Elizondo handed out nine yellow cards and no red cards during the match. He booked five Swiss players: Philippe Senderos, Hakan Yakın, Raphael Wicky, Christoph Spycher and Johan Djourou. The four Koreans to pick up cards were: Park Chu-Young, Kim Jin-Kyu, Choi Jin-Cheul and Lee Chun-Soo. Elizondo called 7 fouls against Switzerland and 19 against South Korea. There were a total of six offsides calls, split evenly between the two teams. [ [http://soccernet.espn.go.com/match?id=191963&cc=5901 - "Switzerland 2-0 South Korea ESPN Match Report"] ]

He awarded the Swiss a controversial goal overruling the assistant referee Rodolfo Otero's raised offside flag. Several players, including two defenders, Kim Jin-Kyu and Choi Jin-Cheul, who were following Alexander Frei stopped playing when they saw the flag, expecting it to be accompanied by the referee's whistle.

However no whistle was blown that would have signaled halt in the game. The ball was put into the path of Alexander Frei after being hit by Lee Ho's foot. According to some commentators and media, Lee Ho's action was not a mere deflection but an intentional move, what would make the offside void, supporting Elizondo's decision. [, though many Koreans claim it was a deflection. [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/06/23/um/m-01220988.htm "Suiza venció a Corea del Sur y se clasificó"] - Clarín es icon] Korean players and staff protested against the decisions by the referee, and Korea's coach Dick Advocaat was livid to the point that he had to be cautioned twice by the referee. A few days later, though, Advocaat relented and agreed that the decision to allow Switzerland's second goal was correct. [ [http://worldcup.reuters.com/france/news/usnL24568011.html "World-South Korea take credit after controversial exit"] - Reuters] .Elizondo's decisions have caused anger among Koreans, many of whom sent e-mails of protest to the official FIFA website. FIFA decided to take the strong step of blocking Korean Internet access to its website due to receiving too many protest e-mails from Korea. FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola said "FIFA's new media department detected this organized attack coming from Korea and, basically, had to block the messages from Korea to fifa.com to protect the Web site".cite news
title = FIFA blocks e-mails from South Korea
url = http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060626.WCNOTES26-1/TPStory/TPSports/OtherSports/
publisher = Associated Press
date = 2006-06-26
accessdate =
] In addition, many Koreans have left negative comments on the website of the Swiss embassy in Korea, and one man has been arrested for threatening to bomb the Swiss embassy in Seoul. [ [http://english.yna.co.kr/Engnews/20060624/610000000020060624141322E9.html S. Korean man booked for threatening to blow up Swiss Embassy] ]

England vs. Portugal

Elizondo was the referee in the England 0-0 Portugal quarter-final, which Portugal won 3-1 on penalties. Elizondo gave yellow cards to Ricardo Carvalho and Petit of Portugal and to Owen Hargreaves and John Terry of England, as well as a straight red card to England's Wayne Rooney, for a total of 5 cards. Elizondo called 18 fouls on England and 10 on Portugal, found Portugal offsides 3 times and England none. [ [http://soccernet.espn.go.com/match?id=191976&cc=5901 – “England 0-0 Portugal ESPN Match Report”] ]

In the 62nd minute, Elizondo sent off Rooney after he stamped on Ricardo Carvalho's groin and then pushed Cristiano Ronaldo after the whistle had been blown. Portugal players, including Rooney's Manchester United team mate Ronaldo then urged Elizondo to take action.cite news
title = England 0-0 Portugal
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991618.stm
publisher = BBC
date = 2006-07-01
accessdate = 2006-07-02
] Elizondo later confirmed that it was the kick on Carvalho that led to the red card.cite news
title = Elizondo clears Ronaldo
author = Simon Fudge
url = http://home.skysports.com/worldcup/article.aspx?hlid=400442
publisher = Sky Sports
date = 2006-07-04
accessdate = 2006-07-04
] Outside England, Elizondo and Rooney's red card has not been an issue, however Wayne Rooney has said he was “gobsmacked” by the decision and believes that the red card was unjustified, claiming that he had been trying to keep his balance and was not aware of Carvalho.cite news
title = Rooney insists he didn't deserve red card
url = http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/5757288
publisher = Fox Sports
date = 2006-07-02
accessdate = 2006-07-02
] The Football Association has supported Rooney,cite news
title = FA respond over Rooney red card
url = http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/5757916
publisher = Fox Sports
date = 2006-08-04
accessdate = 2006-08-04
] while England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson deferred to Elizondo's decision, saying "I went to the referee to speak and he was 100 percent sure it was a red card. He told me he hit the other player and where he was hit so I can't complain about that."cite news
title = Sven: Don't kill off Rooney
url = http://home.skysports.com/worldcup/article.aspx?hlid=400051&CPID=4&clid=114&lid=4163&title=Sven:+Don't+kill+off+Rooney
publisher = Sky Sports
date = 2006-07-02
accessdate = 2006-07-06

FIFA requested an explanation from Rooney regarding his conduct during the game; this is standard practice when the referee reports violent conduct. Rooney received a two match ban and was fined 5,000 Swiss francs for the incident.cite news
title = Red card Rooney gets two-match ban
url = http://edition.cnn.com/2006/SPORT/football/07/08/england.rooney.reut/index.html
publisher = CNN
date = 2006-08-02
accessdate = 2006-08-02
] FIFA could have banned him for up to five games.

World Cup Final

Elizondo was the referee for the Final of the tournament in Berlin on July 9, between France and Italy.cite news
title = Elizondo chosen as Cup final ref
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5152952.stm
publisher = BBC
date = 2006-07-06
accessdate = 2006-07-06
] He awarded France a penalty after Florent Malouda went down in the box under limited contact from Marco Materazzi. In the 53rd minute, France had a strong claim for another penalty turned down after Malouda once again went down in the box, this time after a challenge from Gianluca Zambrotta, who brought down Malouda. cite news
title = Cup final will be remembered for ugliness
url = http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/5767794
publisher = Fox Soccer
date = 2006-07-06
accessdate = 2006-07-06

Elizondo gave Zinedine Zidane a red card after he headbutted Marco Materazzi in the chest in the 110th minute. Despite making the correct decision, France coach Raymond Domenech said the fourth official, Luis Medina Cantalejo from Spain, broke the rules and looked at video replays when making the decision. If correct, this would have been the first use of a video replay by an official during a World Cup match.cite news
title = Zidane shame as Italy triumph in Berlin
url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/worldcup2006.html?in_article_id=394891&in_page_id=1892&in_a_source=
publisher = Daily Mail
date = 2006-02-02
accessdate = 2006-06-10
] However, FIFA officials said that Elizondo and his assistants acted properly in the matter. [cite news
title= Fifa denies video evidence claims

Other competitions

Among the several international competitions in which he participated are the Copa América of 1997 and 1999), the U-17 World Cup of 1997 and 2005, the U-20 World Youth Championships of 2003 and 2005, the Olympic Games of 2004, and the FIFA Club World Championship of 2000. [ [http://www.conmebol.com/articulos_ver.jsp?id=58753&slangab=S CONMEBOL - "Horacio Elizondo: 'Es vital para el réferi conocer bien a sus colaboradores'"] . Last accessed on June 1 2006.] In the latter, he showed a red card to David Beckham in the tie between Manchester United and Necaxa. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/12/99/world_club_championship/593722.stm BBC news - "Beckham off in Man Utd epic"] . Last accessed on June 1 2006.]

He also refereed in the final matches of the 2002 and 2005 Copa Libertadores de América. In the 2005 tournament the two Brazilian finalist teams São Paulo FC and Atlético Paranaense lobbied Conmebol to have Elizondo as the main referee.

On August 18, 2006 Elizondo refereed the second final of the 2006 Copa Libertadores. [cite news
first =
last =
url = http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/08/07/um/m-01248183.htm
title = Elizondo dirigirá la segunda final de la Libertadores
publisher = Clarin (Argentina)
date = 2006-08-07
accessdate = 2006-08-16

Elizondo broke the Argentine First Division record showing 12 yellow cards on August 19 in the match between Boca Juniors and Independiente. The media, though, supported most of his decisions. [ [http://www.ole.clarin.com/jsp/v4/pagina.jsp?pagId=1255933&fecha=20060820 "Tiene otro record"] -Olé sports newspaper.]

In the annual world referee ranking of the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), Elizondo was positioned 5th in 2001, [ [http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/iffhs-ref.html RSSSF - "IFFHS' World's Best Referee of the Year 1987-2004"] . Last accessed on June 1 2006.] 12th in 2005 [ [http://www.iffhs.de/?17f7370eff3702bb0a35bb6e28e43c03f32b00f31504e52d IFFHS - "The World's best Referee 2005"] . Last accessed on June 1 2006.] and 1st in 2006. [ [http://www.iffhs.de/?28e43c03f32b00f36b55a66f17f7370eff3702bb1c2bbb6e1e RSSSF - "IFFHS' World's Best Referee of the Year 2006"] . Last accessed on February 23 2007.]



External links

* [http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/ref/38922_ELIZONDO_Horacio.html FIFAworldcup.com profile]

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