World Cup: Swedish official Jonas Eriksson assigned to USA vs. Ghana match
NATAL, Brazil – Swedish official Jonas Eriksson has been assigned to the US national team’s group stage opener against Ghana on Monday, according to a release from FIFA.
Eriksson, 40, is a full-time referee who officiated two matches at the 2012 European Championships and the second leg of the CONMEBOL/AFC play-off between Uruguay and Jordan last November. This will be his World Cup debut.
Eriksson worked at least six matches in the UEFA Champions League each of the past three tournaments, including one leg of the semifinal series between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea this spring and a quarterfinal matchup between Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
He also served as the head official for four different European qualifying matches in the lead-up to the World Cup, handing out a total of 18 yellow cards, one red card and one penalty kick.
He also officiated three matches in the Under-20 World Cup in 2013, as well as the 2013 UEFA Super Cup final, which saw Bayern Munich beat Chelsea.
Eriksson drew some ire in England in February after he sent off Manchester City’s Martin Demichelis for a foul on Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the first leg of the teams’ Round of 16 matchup, a 2-0 win for Barcelona in Manchester.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said Eriksson “decided the game” with his call against Demichelis and the subsequent penalty kick that was awarded on a call that came on the edge of the penalty box.
"I told him [Eriksson] he decided the game," Pellegrini said. "I was not happy. He did not have any control of the game. He favored Barcelona from the beginning to the end … There is more important football in Europe than Sweden. A big game with two important teams, that kind of game needs a referee with more experience.”
Pellegrini was subsequently issued a three-match ban for the comments.