UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine

Referee Review

Pedro Proenca (Portugal) 

By Adam Higgins

Chief Football Editor 

Age-  41             FIFA Referee since-  2003             Promoted to the Elite List-  2009          Portuguese Liga referee since 1998

Season 2011-12:      Matches-  31        Yellow cards-  189          Red cards-  14          Penalties-  6

Best game of the season:  19th May 2012      UEFA Champions League Final      Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (Chelsea win on pens)
                                    Venue-  Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany)                                    

Our average rating from Euro 2012:  33.5/40 (8.38/10)

Euro 2012 statistics-   Matches-  4        Yellow cards-  12         Red cards-  0         Penalties-  0       Average cards per game-  3

Best game of the tournament:  Sunday 1st July 2012          Final            Spain 4-0 Italy             Olympic Stadium, Kiev (Ukraine)

Pedro Proenca came into Euro 2012, his first-ever major international competition, off the back of officiating in last season's UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea at the Allianz Arena in May. He put in a solid display in his first major European or international appointment as a semi-final or final referee, correctly awarding an extra-time penalty to the hosts Bayern Munich for a foul on Franck Ribery by Didier Drogba. Domestically, the 41-year-old has established himself as one of the top referees in Portugal. He was named Referee of the Year in 2006-07 and 2010-11, and has officiated 10 matches involving the country‚Äôs big three, as well as two Portuguese Cup finals and three Super Cups. Criticism targeted at Proenca was taken to a whole new level in August 2011, when the referee was headbutted by a Benfica fan inside a shopping centre in Lisbon. As a typical Portuguese referee, Proenca is very strict and not concerned about letting the game flow. If he feels his authority is being questioned, he will start to brandish yellow cards. Players will need to be very careful around him, otherwise they will risk going for an early bath. The Portuguese, who handled Manchester United's semi-final second leg against Schalke in the Champions League in 2010-11, took charge of four games in Poland and Ukraine- more than any of the other eleven referees at the tournament due to the fact that he was rewarded for his efforts with the final itself. It took him a while to get his first match when he was appointed to oversee Spain's second game of their Group C campaign against the Republic of Ireland in Gdansk. The Spanish would go on to win comfortably with a 4-0 scoreline at the end with no problems for the referee in terms of the players' conduct and behaviour generally. His card count has been notoriously high over the last three seasons eclipsing 149 yellows in 2009-10 and in this low scale match in terms of fouls and aggression, he gave out five yellow cards. There was one humorous moment in the game when Proenca, a financial advisor from Lisbon, accidentally ran into Keith Andrews knocking over the Irish midfielder in the process. He helped the player to his feet before the two joked about it. His next three games would all take place in the Ukranian capital of Kiev. His second game of the tournament was Sweden against France as Group D came to a conclusion with the Swedes already eliminated while Les Bleus needed a victory to ensure qualification and top spot ahead of England. It was another commanding and authoratitive display from the Portuguese who allowed the match to flow as much as possible and managed to avoid handing out a flurry of yellow cards. He was virtually anonymous which is always a positive signal as a match official, keeping everybody in check and importantly keeping up with the play as a terrifically end-to-end first half was played out while the game ended 2-0 to Erik Hamren's men. At the end of the group stages, Pedro was kept on as one of the eight referees for the knockout stages when UEFA announced which four would be leaving the tournament. A short while later, he was confirmed as the referee for the fourth quarter-final which was the most eagerly awaited of the quartet, tasked with the job of overseeing England's match with Italy. The game was watched by a European Championship record audience of 20 million people on television on top of 64,000 inside the arena. Apart from two harsh yellow cards brandished to Italy defenders Barzagli and Maggio, he dealt with the game as expected keeping a lid on everything and staying in control of the game. There was some grappling in the Italy penalty box which he failed to spot with John Terry's shirt being tugged on numerous occasions while there were one or two free-kick calls which may have been incorrect on replay viewing however a decent performance from the man in yellow. The wait to see who would take char of the final was on now for the eight remaining officiating teams. Despite many expecting Englishman Howard Webb to be chosen, on 29th June, it was announced by UEFA that Pedro Proenca would take charge of the Euro 2012 final between the reigning world and European champions Spain and 2006 World Cup winners Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on Sunday 1st July. Ironically, the Portuguese referee was following in the footsteps of Webb from 2010 in becoming the first official to take charge of a Champions League final and a European Championship final in the same year. The match itself came and went for him. He started a little nervously with some of the players getting unnecessarily heated by his constant blowing of the whistle for soft infringements, however, once he had settled, we saw one of his best displays and probably his best of the tournament too. He used clear signals and was assured with his decision making and duly justified the selection by the referees committee while his fitness didn't prove an issue. It was an "I was there" occasion with Proenca in charge on a night in which Vicente Del Bosque's side made history. Overall, a consistent and magnificent tournament for Pedro Proenca which was rounded off perfectly for him when overseeing a glittering final which will live long in the memory. Not bad for your first major international competition. I suspect he will be getting the call to officiate at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


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