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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK

Collina: Mistakes can happen

Pierluigi Collina has admitted that refereeing mistakes in the World Cup final cannot be ruled out.

Concerns over the standard of refereeing at the finals prompted Fifa president Sepp Blatter to insist that only the best referees would be chosen for key matches.

The Italian, widely regarded as the best referee in the world, was subsequently given the honour of officiating the match between Germany and Brazil in Yokohama.

Collina has promised to do his homework ahead of the game in an effort to avoid any contentious decisions.

However, he knows that he and his assistants - England's Phillip Sharp and Leif Lindberg of Sweden - can only do their best.

Pierluigi Collina

  • 42-year-old Italian
  • Refereed 1996 Olympic Final, 1999 European Cup Final
  • Took charge of England's 5-1 win over Germany in Munich and the 1-0 win over Argentina
  • "Our task between now and Sunday will be to be as well-prepared as we can," said Collina.

    "It is important to get as much information as possible to know how the teams and individual players perform."

    The appointment of the 42-year-old Collina, recognisable by his shining head and bulging eyes, is no surprise.

    Earlier in the tournament he took charge of the high-profile and potentially volatile clash between England and Argentina with assurance.

    "Even though I have refereed a lot of games in my career, the World Cup final is different," added Collina.

    "I'm interested in the tactics of both teams. I don't necessarily mean simulation or bad behaviour, but about players' movements on the field."

    Despite the preparation, Collina acknowledges that penalties and other key incidents in and around the penalty box will always cause dispute.

    "The penalty box is the most important part of the field," he added.

    "A mistake made in the middle of the pitch is accepted by everyone but inside the box errors are shown hundreds and hundreds of times.

    " He is widely regarded as the best referee in the world "
    Uefa president Lennart Johansson on Collina

    "Something has changed in the last 20 years. Back then there were far fewer cameras than there are now which has made the job much more difficult.

    "Referees and players have got to trust each other. We are not enemies, we just do our jobs in different ways."

    Scotland's Hugh Dallas completes the list of four officials on duty, making it an all-European cast.

    Saturday's third-place play-off between South Korea and Turkey in Daegu will be officiated by four non-European referees.

    Kuwait's Saad Mane will take charge with Saudi Arabia's Ali Al Traifi and Canadian Hector Vergara as linesmen and Mexico's Felipe Ramos Rizo as the fourth official.

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