Montevideo, March 30: A team of three Uruguayans have made the list of 36 referees and 63 assistants chosen for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which kicks off in June.
The Uruguayan football officials who earned the honour are Andres Cunha, Mauricio Espinosa and Nicolas Taran, reports Efe.
“(Taking part in the World Cup) is a very big challenge for us as representatives of Uruguayan refereeing, and we’ll try to meet it as best we can with our performance there. It’s been a long process … and now comes the icing on the cake, which is going to Russia,” Espinosa told Sport 890 radio.
The assistant referee was chosen for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and also worked the 2015 Copa America tournament in Chile and the 2017 U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
He said there was “extra satisfaction” in having been chosen once again for a World Cup despite having made a blatant mistake at the 2010 tournament and thinking he might never work again at soccer’s showcase event.
During a round-of-16 match between England and Germany, Espinosa ruled that a strike by English midfielder Frank Lampard did not cross the goal line even though television replays showed that it had clearly done so after ricocheting off the crossbar.
Had he made the correct call, that goal would have tied the score at 2-2; Germany went on to win that match 4-1.
Espinosa and the head referee for that contest, Uruguayan Jorge Larrionda, did not work any more World Cup games that tournament.
“I still go out on the field in (Uruguayan league matches) and the people shout at me reminding me of England-Germany … Referees throughout history have made mistakes and it’ll keep happening,” Espinosa said.
“But people generally only remember the error and don’t value all the things that referees do well.”
He also spoke about his experience with the use of a video assistant referee (VAR) during last year’s U-20 World Cup and said he supported the decision to allow plays to be reviewed with video footage in Russia, the first time that technology will be employed at a senior World Cup.
Espinosa added, however, that VAR’s debut in Russia would place great responsibility on the shoulders of those manning the cameras.