FILE PHOTO: Referee Michael Oliver reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Group C match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on November 30, 2022. | Photo Credit: Getty Images
Croatia, the runner-up in the 2018 World Cup, will face five-time world champion Brazil in the quarterfinal of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Friday at the Education City Stadium. The game will kick off at 8:30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST).
Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia has been unbeaten in the tournament, winning one group game against Canada and settling for two draws against Canada and Morocco. In the pre-quarterfinal, Croatia beat Japan in the penalty shootout after regulation time ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Meanwhile, Brazil, coached by Tite, has played beautiful counter-attacking football. It topped Group G with wins over Serbia and Switzerland but lost to Cameroon 1-0 after Tite deployed a second-string side in the team’s final group game.
However, in the pre-quarterfinal, Brazil, with its first team players returning to the starting lineup, handed South Korea a 4-1 defeat to set up the quarterfinal clash with Croatia.
Friday’s meeting will be their fifth across all competitions, with the South American side winning three while the one ended in a draw.
England referee Michael Oliver will be in charge of the proceedings tonight.
Who is Oliver?
Oliver is a 37-year-old referee. He has officiated in Premier League, FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup matches.
He took up refereeing as a teenager in 2006, encouraged by his father Clive, also a referee.
In 2010, he became the youngest-ever Premier League referee at 25 when he officiated Birmingham City’s game with Blackburn Rovers. In 2016, he was enlisted in the UEFA referee panel.
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In 2018, he was mired in controversy when he officiated the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal between Real Madrid and Juventus. In injury time, when the aggregate score was level at 3-3, Oliver awarded Real Madrid a penalty and sent off Juventus Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
In the Qatar World Cup, Oliver has officiated two matches. He oversaw Japan’s 0-1 defeat to Costa Rica and issued six yellow cards. In his second game, involving Mexico and Saudi Arabia, Oliver booked seven players.
In Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal tonight, Oliver will be assisted by Stuart Burt and Gary Beswick as assistant referees after Simon Bennett was ruled out due to an injury. The fourth official will be Algerian Mustapha Ghorbal.
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