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   June 25, 2002 | 2015 IST


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Meier restores referees' reputation

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Simon Evans

With the eyes of the world upon him, Swiss referee Urs Meier delivered a top class display in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final, won 1-0 by Germany against South Korea, going some way to restoring the reputation of heavily criticised match officials.

Controversy had surrounded co-hosts South Korea's victories over Italy and Spain in the previous rounds, but neither side could have any real cause for complaint with the performance of the 43-year-old Meier.

FIFA had opted for six European officials for the semi-finals after heavy criticism of the performances of Egyptian referee Gamal Ghandour and his Ugandan and Trinidadian linesmen in South Korea's quarter-final win over Spain on Saturday in which two Spanish goals were incorrectly ruled out.

The confident and authoritative display by Meier, a regular in Champions League fixtures who also officiated in the World Cup in France four years ago, will add strength to the view that only officials with experience of major competitions should take charge of high-pressure World Cup matches.

Tuesday's semi-final was relatively free of difficult decisions but when all eyes turned to Meier with two German penalty appeals the referee was right on both occasions.

Swiss referee Urs Meier gives Michael Ballack a yellow card.In the 24th minute German striker Miroslav Klose went down in the Korean penalty area but despite a huge appeal from the German bench, Meier waved away the protests and television replays showed he was right to view the fall as a dive.

Five minutes from the end, Oliver Neuville clearly dived when attempting to round South Korea goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae and Meier was perfectly correct to punish the German with a yellow card.

The only major error came in the final minutes when Korean midfielder Yoo Sang-chul was incorrectly ruled off-side when he was put through on goal -- but in any case the pass to him was overhit and there was no realistic chance of a goal.

Some commentators have suggested officials have been swayed by the 'red noise' of Korea's huge and vocal home support but Meier looked totally in control of the match and there was no question of any kind of favouritism.

Aside from avoiding controversy, Meier also managed to allow the game to flow, playing the advantage rule to good effect on several occasions.

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