Cuneyt Cakir: The lowdown on Croatia v England referee
Turkish referee to take charge of World Cup semi-final
By Oli Yew
Last Updated: 11/07/18 8:13am
Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir will take charge of England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday.
The last-four showdown will be the 41-year-old's third match at this summer's tournament, and the sixth World Cup clash of his career having officiated three matches at the 2014 World Cup.
England semi-final referee announced
Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir has been named as the man to officiate England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia.
Born in 1976 in Istanbul, Turkey, Cakir, is a part-time insurance agent.
He moved into football in 2001 and has since overseen more than 170 Super Lig games in Turkey, including five meetings between big rivals Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
Cakir has been a FIFA-listed referee for 12 years and has been a member of UEFA's elite group of referees since 2010.
He was the fourth official for the Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy. Then, in 2015, he officiated Barcelona's Champions League final 3-1 win over Juventus and oversaw the Holland versus Argentina last-four clash at the World Cup in Brazil four years ago.
Cakir refereed Sir Alex Ferguson's last match in the Champions League in 2013, provoking the Manchester United manager's anger after sending off Nani for a high tackle in the last-16 defeat to Real Madrid.
United were winning the tie on aggregate but went on to exit the competition after Cakir sent off Nani for catching Alvaro Arbeloa with a high foot, a decision that left Ferguson raging.
Ferguson, who opted not to attend his mandatory post-match press conference, said it was "hard to keep faith" after the decision. Prior to the match he had told his backroom staff he was concerned Cakir had a tendency to send off players of English-based teams having dismissed seven but never any from teams playing against them.
A bad omen?
Cakir has sent off three English players in the past: John Terry, Gary Cahill and Steven Gerrard.
Terry was suspended from the Champions League final when he received his marching orders from the Turkish referee in the second leg of the 2012 semi-final against Barcelona, while current England defender, Cahill, saw red for an off-the-ball incident in the final of the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup and Gerrard was shown a red on international duty.
Cakir has taken charge of five previous England games during his career and has never overseen an England defeat, although none have occurred during a major tournament.
His most recent game involving England was a 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley during qualification for this summer's World Cup.
He has overseen four other England matches - a 1-1 draw against Ukraine at Wembley during qualification for the 2014 World Cup, a 2-0 win over Switzerland (Euro 2016 qualifying), a 2-0 win over Andorra (World Cup 2010 qualifying) and a 1-1 draw with Ghana in 2011 (International Friendly).
The most noteworthy was the 1-1 draw against Ukraine when he awarded England a late penalty, but also sent off Steven Gerrard for two bookable offences.
Gerrard, who was suspended for England's next game against San Marino, thought Cakir was a bit card-happy during the game, saying: "I don't think there was a bad tackle in the game."
World Cup 2018 record
Cakir has taken charge of two games so far in Russia. The first was Iran's 1-0 win over Morocco at the Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg, which passed without incident.
He has been involved in controversy at this World Cup, though. In his second game, Nigeria felt they should have had a second penalty in their 2-1 defeat to Argentina, but the incident was not reviewed by officials.
"I don't understand how that wasn't a penalty He looked at the VAR. I asked him, 'Did it hit the hand?' He said 'Yes'. But why it's not a penalty...he said he doesn't know."
John Obi Mikel
Marcos Rojo appeared to head the ball onto his own arm but the referee allowed play to continue. Odion Ighalo then wasted a glorious chance and once the ball was out of play, Cakir did check the incident with the VAR, who then called him over to the off-pitch TV screen. But after some moments of deliberation, he gave a goal kick.
However, the Turkish official did award a penalty to Nigeria after consulting VAR during their game against Argentina when Javier Mascherano was adjudged to have held Leon Balogun in the penalty area. England have been awarded two penalties this summer for the same offence.
In total, Cakir has handed out nine yellow cards in the two games he has officiated in Russia but has yet to issue a red card.