Monthly Archives: August 2011
Brazil claim impressive fifth title
Brazil claimed their fifth FIFA U-20 World Cup crown on Saturday, beating Portugalafter extra time in Bogota, the first time they have won the competition since 2003.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011 ended as it began, with rain teeming down in prelude to the match for third place at El Campin in Bogota.
And for the second time in the competition, following on from their fightback in the Round of 16 against Cameroon, Mexico came from behind to beat France and take third place on the podium, El Tri’s best finish in the competition since 1977, when they ended runners-up. Les Bleuets did not go away too disappointed, however, having completed their best ever campaign in the competition, despite conceding 12 goals, the joint-worst defensive record alongside Costa Rica and Guatemala.
The battle for the bronze medal was followed by the tournament showpiece, in which Brazil claimed their fifth title in the category, avenging the penalty shoot-out defeat they suffered against Portugal 20 years ago and erasing the memory of their loss on penalties to Ghana in the Egypt 2009 final.
On Tuesday August 2, 2011 in Atlanta (USA), the NASO (National Association of Sports Officials) Gold Whistle Award was given to my friend Esse Baharmast (FIFA Referee Technical Instructor), in recognition of his significant contributions to the betterment of sports officials. It’s the first time ever that a soccer referee receives this prestigiuos award (former honorees were from NFL; MLB, NBA, and NHL only).
Esse may have no equal when it comes to soccer officiating in the United States. Among his accomplishments are working the 1993 World University Games, 1994 Pan American Games, and the 1996 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He officiated the inaugural MLS game in 1996. He also officiated three games at the 1996 Olympics, becoming the only American referee to officiate an Olympic semifinal (Argentina-Portugal). He is perhaps most well known for a call in the final minute of a match in the 1998 World Cup between Brazil and Norway. While TV broadcasts could not see it clearly, Baharmast whistled a foul in the penalty area as a player for Brazil grabbed one of his opponents. Baharmast was criticized heavily in the media until a Swedish TV film clearly showed he was correct. At that World Cup, he became the only American referee to ever take charge of two matches at the World Cup level. Upon retiring from the field, Esse has served both U.S. Soccer and FIFA in an administrative role. He currently works for FIFA as the technical instructor in charge of elite referees from CONCACAF and Oceania confederations. He also served two terms on the NASO Board of Directors and has continued to be involved with the organization for a number of years.
Again I’m reunited with my very good friend Mitsu (Mitsunori Tsumaki), from the Tokyo College of Medical Sports, during a FIFA World Cup. We’re here in Bogotà, Colombia for the U-20 tournament (19/7-20/8/11), and we ensure the medical coverage (on behalf of F-MARC) of the FIFA referee’s team. Several friends are working in the staff: Claudio Pilot, Esse Baharmast, Leslie Irvine, Fernando Tresaco Gracia, Alejo Perez Leguizamon, Manuel Lopez, only to name a few of them.