Nigeria won her highest diadem in football – the 1996 Olympic football goal with Pierluigi Collina as the centre referee against Argentina.
When the Eagles jog into the Saint Petersburg Stadium pitch on Tuesday, they will be hoping that designated centre referee, Cuneyt Cakır, gives an assured performance, despite the array of big names, reputations and the high stakes.
Cakır should know about assurance because he is an insurance agent and knows the benefits of having the correct insurance policy.
Collina is now the chairman of the referees’ committee in FIFA, tasked with choosing the best arbiters for matches at Russia 2018.
Argentina are desperate which means there will be a lot of dark arts employed on Tuesday to sway the balance of the match, which is why a referee with a strong countenance and steely resolve will be needed to make the right calls at the right time.
The slightly built Turk is known to ‘love’ the red card for adjudicating the “use of excessive force”. Law 12 of Fifa’s laws of the game. Fouls and Misconduct, defines excessive as when “the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.”
The Eagles have been warned. Whilst Gernot Rohr must have told his players to be aggressive, they must stay within the ambits of the law.
The Argentines are going to initiate confrontations that would cause niggly fouls; the Eagles must not be drawn to taking the bait.