Nicola Rizzoli is to become the third Italian to referee a World Cup final when he takes charge of Argentina versus Germany on Sunday.
The previous Italians, Sergio Gonella and Pierluigi Collina, produced excellent performances in 1978 and 2002.
I have had the pleasure of meeting all three men, Gonella having assessed my performance in a European Cup game where I’m pleased to say he was very complimentary.
Collina, a tall and imposing figure on the field, was without doubt one of the world’s greatest referees.
He has carried those on-field skill sets into managing the UEFA referees. It is clear that he continually demands improved fitness and performance.
I had the pleasant duty of assessing Nicola Rizzoli in a demanding UEFA Cup game, which he managed in a most effective manner.
This is a good appointment and reflects how well the group of UEFA Referees, including Howard Webb, has performed at this World Cup. Collina can take credit for that.
I wish Nicola and his assistant referees Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani, together with their fourth official Carlos Vera from Ecuador, all the very best on Sunday.
I’ll be giving my opinion of Rizzoli’s control of the final on You Are The Ref’s Web-cam. I hope that you will tune in and send me your views as the game progresses.