The Mexican referee who missed Luis Suarez's bite in the World Cup had encouragement from Brazil but a warning from Germany on the eve of Tuesday's semi-final, which he will also officiate. Marco Rodriguez refereed the Uruguay v/s Italy group game when striker Suarez bit defender Giorgio Chiellini off the ball.
The official was following play elsewhere at the time so took no action, but FIFA gave Suarez a four-month ban from football and a nine-game suspension from playing for Uruguay - the severest ever sanction at a World Cup. Asked if he mistrusted Rodriguez because he missed the bite, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari sprung to his defence.
"He didn't see it. Many things happen. Many times the referee doesn't see a foul, other things that happen in a game. Sometimes when they're looking at the ball, other things happen they don't see. That's why they have the assistants," he told reporters. "He's a referee who's in his third World Cup, he has a lot of experience. I think he was one of the correct choices by FIFA to referee this match."
Germany's concern was not about the missed bite but Brazil's bruising style against Colombia in their quarter-final, when they roughed up midfielder James Rodriguez and there were a host of unpunished fouls long before the hosts' forward Neymar was injured following a strong challenge. Brazil committed 31 fouls against Colombia but Spanish referee Carlos Velasco did not issue a first yellow card until the second half when 41 fouls had been made by both teams. Tuesday's referee Rodriguez needs to be tougher, Germany coach Joachim Loew told a news conference.
"My hope, or what I expect, is that the referee Rodriguez punishes these things," he said. "In the past game (Brazil v Colombia) this physical involvement was almost over the limit. In Europe there would not be 22 players on the pitch in the end. It was a bit exaggerated. One has to punish these rustic and brutal tactics. There was maybe 38, 39 minutes of clean playing time."