Rocchi And Kuipers The Officials For Croatia Matches

Rocchi And Kuipers The Officials For Croatia Matches

In the last few days, the referees assigned to officiate the two legs between Greece and Croatia in their World Cup Playoff have been announced.

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On November 9th in Zagreb, the man in the middle will be Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi. The Florence-born Rocchi began his refereeing career in 2000 in Serie C.  The 44-year-old has since moved up the ranks to Serie A as well as European and international competitions. 

Rocchi has been handed the first leg, while Dutch ref Bjorn Kuipers will oversee the return leg in Piraeus. Kuipers began his refereeing in 2002 in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. He has since gone on to referee at the top level in Holland, but also around Europe and the world. The 44-year-old has whistled the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup  Final, the 2014 UEFA Champions’ League Final, and most recently the FIFA U-20 World Cup Final.

Both referees are widely respected, however the bad news for Greece is that the nation’s football teams have rarely enjoyed many matches with these two refereeing. 

Rocchi refereed the Olympiacos-Manchester United match from a few years ago where Olympiacos picked up a first leg win in the Round of 16 knockout. Previously, he officiated losses for Panathinaikos and AEK in 2009 and 2010. 

Kuipers actually oversaw the second leg of Olympiacos’ match-up with United. In addition to that Kuipers has refereed two Schalke victories over Olympiacos and PAOK in the Champions’ League and Europa League, respectively. Of particular note, Kuipers also took control of the Greek national team’s 3-1 defeat to Bosnia in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

By George Tsitsonis
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