UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine

Referee Review

Stephane Lannoy (France) 

By Adam Higgins

Chief Football Editor 

Age-  42             FIFA Referee since-  2006             Promoted to the Elite List-  2009          French Ligue 1 referee since 2002

Season 2011-12:      Matches-  33        Yellow cards-  156          Red cards-  10          Penalties-  3

Best game of the season:  7th December 2011       UEFA Champions League Group Stages      Manchester City 2-0 Bayern Munich
                                    Venue: Etihad Stadium (Manchester)

Our average rating from Euro 2012:  23/30 (7.67/10)

Euro 2012 statistics-   Matches-  3        Yellow cards-  15         Red cards-  0         Penalties-  1       Average cards per game-  5

Best game of the tournament:  Thursday 28th June 2012          Semi-Final           Germany 1-2 Italy

                                          National Stadium (Warsaw)

Despite France's stature in the international game, it could be seen as a surprise that there are fewer international referees coming out from the country. Indeed, Stephane Lannoy is the only top-level official currently among the UEFA Elite group of referees, highlighting a distinct lack of quality in officiating emerging from France. Stephane Lannoy was taken to Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland as a fourth official however it was the first time in thirty years that a French referee had not been named by UEFA to take charge of games at a major international tournament. Lannoy's style as a disciplinarian has attracted some criticism within the French system, as well as from further afield. While other referees prefer to let the game flow, the French official is liable to hand out yellow cards even at the first opportunity. Indeed, Lannoy has dished out an average of four yellow cards per game in nearly 300 career appearances in charge. His preference to impose his authority on a match has been fully backed by both UEFA and FIFA, with Lannoy promoted to the Elite category in 2009-10, as well as being appointed to the team of officials at the Under-21 European Championships, Under-17 World Cup and the Olympic Games in the past. Despite some previous problems, the referee has emerged as a quality official, with a stellar 2011-12 season highlighting his ability at the highest level of the game. He must have thought about his performance at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa going into Poland and Ukraine at Euro 2012 in particular the last of his matches at an international tournament was the controversial 3-0 win for Brazil over Ivory Coast in Johannesburg when it wasn't spotted by the French referee that Luis Fabiano had twice handled the ball before scoring and then the official went over to the forward and clearly asked him whether he had committed the handball offence after protests from the Ivory Coast players. He then dismissed Kaka, sent off for the first time in his career, following a complete over reaction by Ivory Coast's Kader Keita in which he felt an elbow had been deliberately aimed in his face by the Brazilian which sparked more fury. The 42-year old took charge of three matches at the tournament including a semi-final. His first game came on the second day of the tournament in Group B as the pre-tournament favourites Germany began their Euro 2012 campaign against Portugal in Lviv. In a quiet match, he took some flack by fans for showing a yellow card to Portugal's Hugo Almeida after some playacting from German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who hit the floor far too easily when Almeida tried to charge down his clearance and accidentally made contact with him. Also, Lannoy did well to ignore the fact that Germany fans were throwing missiles in the shape of paper balls in the general direction of the pitch from their stand something which was retrospectively punished by UEFA. After a quiet match in which he was authoratitive and commanding, he was given a second game to officiate even before some referees had overseen their first matches as the video games distributor from Sailly-sur-la-Lys was pencilled in to take charge of Greece against Czech Republic in their second Group A fixture. It was another match in which the referee stayed out of trouble, increased his card count, stayed in control and didn't take any prisoners. He kept up with the play well and was on the spot to see just about everything that went on. Another excellent performance however one of his assistant referee's didn't cover the French officiating team in glory when raising his flag for an apparent offside against Georgios Samaras ruling out a perfectly legitimate Greece goal shortly before half-time which would have brought them back into the game at 2-1- the scoreline that the match finished with in favour of the Czechs. When UEFA made the cut from twelve to eight officials at the conclusion of the group stages, Lannoy was one of the lucky men to be told that he will be remaining in the tournament. After a fourth official role for the quarter-final between Germany and Greece at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, the Frenchman was received the luxurious and privelege appointment of a Euro 2012 semi-final overseeing Joachim Loew's men for the second time in the tournament against the Italians, who had knocked out England in the previous round on penalties, at the National Stadium in Warsaw. In doing so, he took charge as arguably the biggest shock of the tournament unfolded with Cesare Prandelli's Azzuri advancing to the final in Kiev against Spain after a 2-1 victory. It was as easy as semi-finals come on the officiating front for Lannoy who kept his composure and calmness under pressure to deliver a professional performance keeping his strict nature to hand out five yellow cards of which some were given out very harshly indeed but correct in accordance with the letter of the law. He awarded Germany a late penalty for a handball by Italy defender Federico Balzaretti which was converted by Mesut Ozil but meant very little to the outcome as the 2006 World Cup winners progressed. That was the end of a satisfying tournament for Stephane Lannoy and overall, he will have reviewed his performances as being more consistent and certainly an improvement on the disaster of two years previously. On reflection, it couldn't have been much better for him- unless he got the final of course.


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