England should beware no nonsense ref for Algeria clash
Uzbekistan’s Ravshan Irmatov has been named as the referee for England’s match with Algeria on Friday and Fabio Capello’s players should be on their best behaviour.
At just 32 the ref has already established an apparently ‘no nonsense’ reputation, which essentially means he gives cards for technical indiscretions and doesn’t bend his stance for so-called big-name players.
The view has been expressed by ex-Premier League referee Graham Poll – himself infamous for issuing World Cup cards – who calls him a “correct” who will clamp down on shirt-pulls and poor behaviour.
Irmatov was the man who sent off Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic in the 2008 Club World Cup and he took charge of the South Africa v Mexico opening game.
What this means for England is that their players should be on guard so as to avoid any unnecessary bookings.
With Steven Gerrard, James Milner and Jamie Carragher already booked in the tournament another one in the Algeria game would see them suspended for the final match against Slovenia, which could prove all-important to the side’s progression in top place.
Carragher especially appeared prone to getting himself in situations which forced the referee to make a call about whether or not to issue a card. He’s 6/1 joint-favourite to receive the first card.
With Nadir Belhadj (8/1 for first card) today admitting his team have a “very hot temperament”, it’s possible the Algerians could drag England into an encounter full of strong challenges and niggly off-the-ball incidents – especially if things aren’t going the Desert Foxes’ way.
The importance of possible suspensions should not be underestimated.
While it is true that single cards get wiped out after the group stage, it’s vital to note that if two have already been collected and no suspension yet served (for example if Wayne Rooney – 8/1 – gets booked vs Algeria and Slovenia), that player misses the second-round tie.
England could ill afford to lose any men through suspension, given the regular occurrence of injuries hitting the squad.