RIO DE JANEIRO: Dutchman Bjorn Kuipers will be refereeing his second major final in 46 days when he leads outBrazilandSpainin the Confederations Cup showdown in Maracana.
The 40-year-old supermarket boss from Oldenzaal near the German border was in charge of the Europa League Final in whichChelseadefeated Benfica inAmsterdamlast month.
Kuipers began refereeing at 16, was promoted to the FIFA list in 2006 and demonstrated his command under pressure when he held up the storm-hit Euro 2012 clash betweenUkraineandFrancelast year.
Taking charge of the climatic tie in Maracana is like a dream come true, he said in an interview published on FIFA.com.
Kuipers said: “Maracana is fantastic . . . it breathes football. What more do you want whenSpainandBrazilare there and you can be a part of it? It’s a dream. There will be a fantastic atmosphere.”
Kuipers, who refereed at the 2010 World Cup and is expected to be back inBrazilfor next year’s finals, claims to have enjoyed the tournament so far.
The man who refereed the group match in whichUruguaybeatNigeria2-1, said: “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.
“The country is amazing [though] we haven’t seen a lot ofBrazilbecause we don’t have time to be tourists. Most of the time we’re training and in the afternoon we’re doing match analysis.”
Kuipers is happy with his appointment not only for himself but also for his assistants and “the people who have worked with me for the last couple of years to achieve this moment.”
He said he expects a “great, great match,” and has been undertaking his homework by studying all the players, the teams’ styles of playing and how they work even at corners.
Kuipers added: “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.
“My dream is that after the final, nobody’s talking about the referee.”