Pierluigi Collina, a former referee widely acclaimed as the greatest in history, showcased his exceptional preparation for the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany, highlighting why he earned such acclaim.
Known for his no-nonsense officiating style in significant football matches, including Champions League and UEFA Cup finals, Collina was named “The World’s Best Referee” by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics six times consecutively from 1998 to 2003.
For the 2002 World Cup final, Collina took an unconventional approach by requesting VHS tapes of both teams. Recounting the experience, he shared, “I remember when I was asked to referee the 2002 World Cup final. I had to ask for VHS tapes of both teams. I locked myself in my room for a day and a half, taking notes and watching every minute of every match.
The goal of a referee is to be one step ahead, to know what is going to happen before it happens. At the time, it was pretty unusual to prepare like that, but I’m proud that today this is considered normal preparation for a referee.”
Despite the challenging role referees play on the pitch, facing criticism for their decisions, the scrutiny has reached new heights in the Premier League, particularly with the controversial involvement of VAR. One notable incident involved Luis Diaz having a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside, revealing a breakdown in communication between VAR and the on-field referee.
In light of such situations, Collina’s insightful remarks on accuracy resonate strongly. He emphasized, “Sometimes accuracy and speed don’t go together. If you want to be sure, it takes time.”
In a landscape where VAR-related controversies are prevalent, Collina’s words serve as a reminder of the enduring importance of precision and thoroughness in refereeing decisions.