Lenient referees could allow semi-finalists to flourish
The semi-finals could be free-flowing and potentially high-scoring affairs, as FIFA have appointed two reasonably lenient referees for the big games.
Ravshan Irmatov will take charge of Uruguay’s match against Holland, having been praised for his officiating of the opening fixture between South Africa and Mexico.
The 32-year-old has since officiated matches between Greece and Argentina, England and Algeria, and most recently, Germany’s 4-0 win over Argentina.
Irmatov only showed three yellow in that fixture, and with 11 cautions handed out in his four games, the Uzbek referee seems inclined to allow a game to flow.
Uruguayan midfielder Diego Perez is 8/1 to receive the first card, and his relentless harrying and spiky tackling could test Irmatov’s patience.
Stereotypes suggest that Uruguay are renowned for their physically robust style, and in the ‘What will happen first’ market, you can bet on a card to be issued (before a goal is scored or a substitution made) at 4/7.
In the other semi-final, Viktor Kassai has been named as the man in the middle for Germany’s encounter with Spain.
The Hungarian official has taken charge of three World Cup matches to date, and he has shown just eight yellow cards in the process.
The issuing of a card is priced at 4/7 to be the first incident of the clash between Germany and Spain, while Sergio Ramos and Arne Friedrich are among the favourites at 9/1 to receive the first card.
With two seemingly lenient referees, the two semi-final fixtures should be played at a lively tempo, which could mean a flurry of goals in both.
Germany and Spain have scored 19 goals between them at the World Cup to date, and you can bet on there being a total of over 2.5 goals when the teams meet, at a price of 11/10.
Who will be quickest to irk the men in black? Xabi Alonso is 9/1 to receive the first card when Spain meet Germany. See the full Germany vs Spain market.