World Cup 2014

World Cup: Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov to take charge of USMNT's Group G finale vs. Germany

The US national team now knows who the man in the middle will be for its all-important World Cup Group G finale against Germany on Thursday (noon ET, ESPN) – Uzbek official Ravshan Irmatov.

Irmatov most recently refereed Mexico's decisive group stage game against Croatia on Monday (above), a 3-1 win for El Tri that saw him issue three yellow cards and an 89th-minute red card to Croatia's Ante Rebic for a dangerous challenge. 

He did draw some criticism for missing two potential penalty calls in Mexico's favor, for handball in the area by Croatia:

Irmatov also refereed Switzerland's dramatic 2-1 win over Ecuador earlier in the tournament, where he showed just one yellow card to each team.

The 36-year-old soccer instructor has long been one of the top officials in Asia, and was named the continent's best referee for four years running from 2008-11 after being named a FIFA referee at age 26, in 2003.

Irmatov was the youngest referee at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and refereed five matches, including the opener between Mexico and South Africa, a quarterfinal clash between Argentina and Germany, and the semifinal between Uruguay and the Netherlands.

He was also chosen to officiate the 2011 Asian Cup final between Japan and Australia, refereed the 2008 and 2011 FIFA Club World Cup final, and is a regular official in the AFC Champions League, where he has been part of four finals.

Irmatov will be assisted by fellow Uzbek Abduxamidullo Rasulov and Kyrgyz sideline ref Bakhadyr Kochkarov.