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Federation Internationale de Football Association

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Opening match referee (Facts and Figures)


Opening match referee (Facts and Figures)

Match 1, GER v. CRC - Referee: Horacio Elizondo (ARG)

Elizondo is the second Argentinian to referee in a FIFA World Cup™ opening match after Norberto Albert Coerezza in Buenos Aires in 1978 (Germany FR v. Poland, 0-0).

Elizondo has already refereed an opening match at a FIFA competition: on 27 November 2003, he led the opener of the U-20 World Cup in United Arab Emirates between UAE and SVK (1-4). As is the case in this year's opening match, one of his assistant referees for that game was Dario Garcia.

Elizondo has refereed 18 FIFA World Cup™ preliminary matches for four different confederations: AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and UEFA.

Elizondo has also refereed 2 Copa Libertadores finals: 2002 (1st leg, S. Caetano v. Olimpia Asuncion), 2005 (2nd leg, S. Paolo v. Atletico Paranaense).

Historical information on referees in FIFA World Cup™ opening matches

The 17 opening matches to date were led by 13 referees from the UEFA confederation, 2 from CONMEBOL, one from CONCACAF and one from AFC.

The most recent FIFA World Cup™ opener was refereed by Ali Bujsaim (UAE) on 31 May 2002.

Only English, Swiss and now Argentinian referees have officiated 2 opening matches: Reader in 1950 and Aston in 1962 for England, Mercet in 1934 and Scheurer in 1974 for Switzerland, and Coerezza in 1978 and Elizondo in 2006 for Argentina.

FIFA Communications Division

Berlin, 8 June 2006