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World Cup 2014

Klinsmann not thrilled with FIFA's appointment of Algerian referee

Jurgen Klinsmann

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

SALVADOR, Brazil — Jurgen Klinsmann is usually full of smiles, comical quirks and giggles during press conferences. There was none of that on Monday when Klinsmann was asked about a particular topic.

That topic? FIFA’s appointment of the match official for Tuesday’s Round of 16 match.

Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi has been put in charge of Tuesday afternoon’s showdown at Arena Fonte Nova between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Belgium, and Klinsmann is none too thrilled about that decision for several reasons. Klinsmann isn’t fond of the idea that Haimoudi’s primary language is French like the Belgians speak. The U.S. head coach is also perturbed by the fact that Haimoudi is from the country that the Americans defeated with a dramatic last-gasp goal at the 2010 World Cup.

“Is it a good feeling? No,” said Klinsmann. “He’s coming from the same group with Belgium and Algeria — which deserves a huge compliment for going through to the next round — he’s able to speak French with their players on the field and not with us, and it’s the country that we beat in the last second in the last World Cup.

“Sometimes I don’t understand FIFA. It’s difficult, obviously, to choose the right referees for the right games. It’s always been tricky for FIFA, but it is what it is. We give him absolutely the benefit of the doubt, we respect the decision and hope he’s spot on in the game and hope that everything goes well.”

Haimoudi, 43, has officiated two other matches in the tournament in Brazil, and neither of those group stage games had any real controversial moments. He first reffed the Netherlands’ 3-2 victory against Australia and then Costa Rica’s scoreless draw with England.

The second Algerian to ever serve as a head ref in a World Cup, Haimoudi has kept his cards in his pockets for the most part. He booked Robin van Persie and Tim Cahill in the Netherlands-Australia bout and also issued yellow cards to Ross Barkley and Giancarlo Gonzalez in Costa Rica’s group-clinching tie.

All of that and the fact that he has experience officiating in three Africa Cup of Nations and last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup still hasn’t swayed Klinsmann from being a little wary of having Haimoudi as the main official of a game with such high stakes.

“We hope it’s not a concern,” said Klinsmann. “We know that he did already two games so far and he did them very well. We wish that he continues his refereeing the perfect way he’s done so far.”

68 comments
    • Josh D

      The English excuse is a terrible one from Klinsi considering English speaking players have that same benefit 99% of the time.

      Bedoya speaks French and I’m sure a few more do too. Is it too late to call up Boca?

      Like

    • McCallumKnights

      Could be worse. FIFA could have assigned Landon Donovan to ref the game.

      Like

  • big al

    has anyone observed that none of the European teams had to face each other in the round of 16? And yet 4 south American teams faced each other. I’m just saying.

    Like

    • slowleftarm

      Has anyone observed that there are conspiracy theories for everything that happens at the world cup?

      Like

    • Paul

      Maybe because half of the European teams didn’t make it out of group, while all but Ecuador from South America did?

      Like

    • MP

      It’s not like the 2nd round was a lottery. Chile knew they had to win their group to avoid Brazil, they couldn’t do it. All of the group winners have advanced, if you want to avoid a tough matchup winning the group is the key. There is no conspiracy there.

      Like

  • Paul

    Klinsmann never stops working, lol. He complimented the referee for his performance so far in this World Cup, but noted all the reasons why someone might suspect a problem in tomorrow’s game. In other words, he is trying to get into the ref’s head.

    Like

      • Mike

        Yeah, because this the only blog that is reporting on Klinsmann’s pre game press conference. Child please.

        Like

      • Other Jim

        Come to Costa Rica. We have a good team, it’s a lot warmer and the girls wear thongs…

        Like

    • Dustin

      And thus has no idea how psychology works. The referee will feel unjustly accused before even calling a foul and subconsciously will hate Klinsmann and the United States for him being uncomfortable. I hope he red cards several US players.

      Like

      • lprevolution

        NO. This is a US demanding respect from the international community. He is playing the “game” of soccer. It is more than a sport. Yes?

        Like

      • lprevolution

        .. sorry. … This is a US coach demanding respect…

        Like

      • Mike

        You hope he red cards several US players so you can say, “I told you so”? Grow up sour patch.

        Like

    • Fast Eddie

      Either that, or he is trying to get into our (the usmnt fan’s) heads. You know, so it will not be HIS fault when we lose tomorrow.

      Like

      • Francois

        you think we’re going to lose? Wow, i love all of the USMNT support on this blog now…smh.

        Like

      • Fast Eddie

        No, I also think we will win tomorrow. I am only talking about the coach.

        Like

      • Eric

        You should really preface all of your comments with, “I have an irrational hatred of Jürgen Klinsmann, so…”

        Like

      • Mason

        I can finish that sentence.

        “I have an irrational hatred of JK, so he will play a false 9.”

        Like

    • solles

      o definitely, hes giving the ref something to think about, saying “im watching you and I have suspicions”. this could backfire.

      Like

      • BamaMan

        Ferguson and Morinho do this all the time. It’s brilliant. The only time to work the referees is before the game because that’s the only time it can do you any good.

        Klinsmann has been a master manipulator of media narrative this World Cup. Criticize his personnel decisions (although I think we’ve done more with less than at any time in my lifetime) or tactics (which I’ve liked) but the guys knows how to work the soccer media like a boss.

        Like

      • Mason

        In other sports Jackson, Belichick, Pop, and both Harbaughs do the same.

        Like

    • Alex H

      There is nothing that isn’t overblown at the world cup. Let the conspiracies fly and the tinfoil hats be worn!!!!!

      Like

  • Eric

    Pretty sure some of the Belgian team don’t speak French either… The Flemish tend to just learn English for a second language. Now if the Algerian referee knew Flemish, then we’d have a serious controversy.

    Like

  • Chris Becker

    Not that I’m in for the conspiracy, but if FIFA wasn’t such a f–ed up organization (see John Oliver piece) would be easier to dismiss the theories…

    Like

  • Robbie

    French is pretty easy to pickup though. Everyone knows a few common expressions such as ‘we surrender’ and ‘table cloth’.

    Like

  • Paul Terry

    This is the first time USMNT coach Juerguen Klinsmann has said something publicly that makes a stance for and would maybe benefit his team.

    Like

  • Brett

    There’s our built-in excuse if we lose.

    I don’t think we could have expected a fair match, but at this point we can pretty much guarantee a PK call goes in Belgium’s favor. Expect Hazard and Mirallas to be diving all over the place.

    Like

  • Fast Eddie

    off thread, but Neuer did 2 things I have never seen a keeper do before. And he did both in one game!

    Like

  • bryan

    the whole thing is a bit ridiculous at this point, but you do have to wonder why FIFA would even assign an Algerian ref to the game. they should know they’re asking for people to question it from both sides given Belgium just placed over them in the group stage and the US knocked them out last World Cup. why even do it?

    Like

    • Fast Eddie

      Way to go, yes, the whole thing is a bit ridiculous but you took it to a new high (or shall I say, low).

      Like

  • KingGoogleyEye

    What I took away from this article: the ref will not be from Mali.

    I am happy.

    Like

  • Other Jim

    You could as easily point out the recent Algerian experience with colonialism and the terrible Belgium colonial history in Africa…

    Like

    • JCC

      Or you could easily point out that most countries dislike the US in general. The ref has been fine in his other games. I doubt there will be any issues today.

      Like

  • Clover362

    This is gamesmanship from Klinsmann. Pretty much every coach going into a big important game complains about the refereeing so the ref is on notice and is more cautious in making game deciding bad calls. Every basketball coach does this and Chile did it before their game against Brazil (Which worked).

    Like

    • GW

      Mr. Clover,

      Not gamesmanship rather laying the ground work just in case the USA loses. He could blame the loss on the ref. Teflon Klinsy is not very smart but unlike Donovan who is smart and speaks his mind Klinsmann is cold and calculating and excellent at PR. He is also full of it.

      Like

      • Mason

        You’re reaching. He doesn’t need an excuse. He has a contract.

        Like

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