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How legendary referee Pierluigi Collina prepared for the 2002 World Cup final proved he was ahead of his time

Joe Adams

| Last updated 

How legendary referee Pierluigi Collina prepared for the 2002 World Cup final proved he was ahead of his time

Former referee Pierluigi Collina is widely regarded as the greatest referee of all time - and the way he prepared for the 2002 World Cup final proves why.

The Italian was known for his no-nonsense approach to refereeing, having taken charge of some of the biggest fixtures in football, including Champions League, World Cup and UEFA Cup finals.

The 63-year-old was named "The World's Best Referee" by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics six times in a row between 1998 to 2003.

His somewhat untouchable status was underpinned by his preparation for the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany, when he requested VHS tapes of both teams.



"I remember when I was asked to referee the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany," Collina told ESPN last year.

"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.

"Because 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 of the fact that today this is normal prep for a referee.

Referees are often seen as the villain on the pitch and regularly come under fire for their decisions, or lack of.

However, the scrutiny on officials has never felt so high in the Premier League as it does now, with VAR at the centre of a number of controversial blunders.

Few errors were as damaging as when Luis Diaz had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside due to a failure in communication with the on-field referee.


Damning audio from the VAR room was subsequently released which shows officials realising their mistake and deeming it too late to reverse the decision.

Perhaps, Collina's poignant comments on accuracy remain more important than ever. During the same interview, he said: "Sometimes accuracy and speed don't go together. ... If you want to be sure, it takes time."

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football World Cup, Germany, Brazil, Football

Joe Adams
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