Mark Geiger, American Referee, Excelling at World Cup
Mark Geiger is the first American referee to be selected to officiate at a World Cup since Brian Hall was selected in 2002. So far in this tournament Geiger and his two assistants Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher are the only crew to have been appointed to two games. It is also worth noting that this crew received their second match appointment before English referee Howard Webb, widely considered the best referee in the world, received his first.
The first game for this MLS crew was the fixture between Colombia and Greece. This was the first game of the day on a Saturday and it was immediately following two days of questionable refereeing decisions in the opener between Brazil and Croatia, and the game between Mexico and Cameroon. This crew was under a microscope from all the world’s media and they did not disappoint. Geiger and his AR’s put on a masterclass of officiating. There were no controversies to speak of. Geiger’s fitness was phenomenal as he was never out of the TV picture and always within a few yards of play. He issued 3 cautions in a manner that was prompt and effective. When the players were falling to the ground and asking for a foul to be given, Geiger had none of it and told them to get back up.
The crew earned plaudits from pundits and FIFA officials alike and they were rewarded with a much higher profile match: a do or die game between Spain and Chile. Again the crew put on an absolute clinic and earned plaudits from all concerned. It was especially refreshing to hear TV commentators showing knowledge of the Laws of the Game and supporting the calls that Geiger and his crew made. Early on Geiger did look just a little bit nervous and understandably so. He quickly found his rhythm and showed why he should be considered one of the top officials in the world. The first caution was spot on, Spain was set to take a quick free kick when Chilean forward Arturo Vidal walked by a sort of petulantly kicked the ball away from the Spanish player. Geiger immediately blew his whistle and issued the caution.
The crew of Geiger, Hurd and Fletcher absolutely deserve another game appointment in this tournament.
There have been no controversies in either of the two games they have officiated. Not only are they deserving of another appointment, they 100% deserve to be selected to officiate in the knockout rounds of this World Cup.