Daily Mail - 2021-06-11



Euro 2020


heRe is a tip for any referees heading into euro 2020 — if you’re going to have a beer on the eve of the tournament, then make sure there isn’t a Daily Mail photographer hanging around! I was pictured by this newspaper leaving a bar at our pretournament training camp near Paris in 2016 and it raised one or two eyebrows. Saying that, it didn’t do me any harm — I ended up refereeing the final! And what a feeling that was, coming on the back of the FA Cup and Champions League finals earlier that year. Our representatives this summer are Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor, and that is fair. They are the best from the Premier League, even if that group is getting weaker, not stronger. But they will need a little bit of luck if they are to go far in the tournament — like I had five years ago. By that, I mean good fortune in both the matches you are refereeing and those elsewhere. For starters, you need england eliminated as quickly as possible. I’m a big england fan and it will be nice to cheer them on this time because in 2016 I wanted them out to clear the way for me. Any referee from any country would be lying if they said otherwise — we’re all there to try to make the semis or the final. I benefited when england lost to Iceland in the last 16, just like howard Webb had done when he refereed the 2010 World Cup final after we were knocked out by Germany in the second round. I also had Wales to worry about in 2016 as we weren’t allowed to referee the home Nations and they made it to the last four! That was great for them but if they’d got to the final my dream would have been over. So life as a referee at a major tournament is a bit of a rollercoaster — I was nearly crying when Wales beat Belgium in the quarter-final! As for my own games, I managed to avoid any big controversies, which is key. If you make negative headlines then that’s you done — tournaments are brutal like that. It’s about self-preservation and that changes your mindset. It’s not like the Premier League, where another game comes around the following weekend. even for referees, this is knockout football! Mess up and you’re going home. The pressure is immense, and the fear of failure and humiliation is greater than ever. That is why, after my final in which Portugal beat France 1-0 in extra time, I was relieved just to get through it unscathed. I don’t actually think I refereed very well that night, but that was me being picky with myself — to the rest of the world, it was fine. Afterwards, we celebrated with a meal and a few beers with our wives in Paris — and there wasn’t a Daily Mail photographer in sight!



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