As well as the players and the coaches, the Final of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will be a big moment for 40-year-old Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers and his refereeing team.
Kuipers has been on the FIFA list since 2006 and has since officiated at UEFA EURO 2012 and the recent UEFA Europa League Final between Benfica and Chelsea.
He spoke exclusively to FIFA.com about his thoughts on Sunday’s final between Brazil and Spain at the Maracana.
FIFA.com: How are you enjoying the tournament so far? Bjorn Kuipers: Very much. You know, when I received the appointment to go to the FIFA Confederations Cup, it was a great moment. Since I’ve been here, it’s been fantastic. There have been some great matches.
What about Brazil. What do you think of the country?
This country is amazing; it’s very big and very interesting. But we haven’t seen a lot of Brazil because we don’t have time to be tourists. Most of the time we’re training and in the afternoon we’re doing match analysis.
You’ve been named as the referee for the Final. How does that make you feel?
I’m very happy and proud to be named as the referee for the Final, not only for myself, but for my assistants and the Fourth Official. I’m also happy for the people who have worked with me for the last couple of years to achieve this moment. To reach this level, it takes hard work and we’ve done it.
What kind of a game do you expect ?A great, great match! The whole world is waiting for this match, it is Brazil versus Spain, two of the world’s biggest footballing countries. I’m expecting a wonderful game, where fair play and respect for each other is there.
What do you think of the Maracana?
It’s huge, it’s fantastic, it’s modern, it breathes football. So, what more do you want when Spain and Brazil are there and you can be a part of it? It’s a dream. The stadium will be full and there will be a fantastic atmosphere.
My dream is that after the final, nobody’s talking about the referee!
What type of preparations do you have before such a big match?
Of course, this is a big match. Both finalists are great football countries. For every match we prepare. We prepare match analysis, we look at the key players, we look about the style of playing. We look about who makes long passes, who takes corner kicks. So we analyse every single player and we analyse the matches, so we are prepared very well.
The focus is on you, Bjorn, but you're very much a team. How essential is that?
Teamwork is for me the most important part of refereeing because, of course I’m responsible and I’m the referee but I can’t do anything without my assistants. We can have 90 minutes of refereeing without any mistakes, and then nobody talks about the referee. But in order to achieve this we have to be prepared. Fortunately, my team has been working together for a long time, so we know each other very well – and that’s very important.
Goal line technology is quite new. What kind of impact has it had on your work?Until now we haven’t had to use it. But we’ve had a very good explanation of the technology. We have a watch and when the ball crosses the line, it vibrates and beeps. This helps the referee in critical situations. It can only help us.
*Your father was a referee as well. Is this job in your blood? *Yes, I think this job is in my blood. You have to be a personality, you have to manage a game, you have to manage the players and to do this you need to have a background in football; I was a football player – and you need management skills.
Before this kind of match a player dreams to score a goal, or to do an assist. What’s yours?Well, that’s very simple. My dream is that after the final, nobody’s talking about the referee!