Football

Klinsmann has doubts over Algerian referee

PHOTO: REUTERS

United States coach Juergen Klinsmann has questioned the validity of appointing a referee from Algeria for his team's last-16 clash with Belgium tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"This Algerian referee (Djamel Haimoudi, above) is able to speak French with their (Belgium) players on the field and not with us," Klinsmann said at a press conference in Salvador this morning (Singapore time).

"And it's a country (Algeria) that we beat in the last second at the last World Cup," added the German, who was not coach then and took over in 2011 from Bob Bradley.

"I understand it's difficult for Fifa to choose the right referees for the right games and it has always been tricky for Fifa, but it is what it is. 


BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

"We give it the benefit of the doubt, we respect the decision and hope that everything goes well."

The 43-year-old Haimoudi has already taken charge of Australia's 3-2 defeat by Holland on June 18 and the goalless draw between Costa Rica and England six days later.

We hope it's not a concern," Klinsmann stated.

"We know that already he did two games very well, so we hope he continues that tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Belgium could be without both their first-choice centre backs - captain Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen - for their clash with the US, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said this morning.

Wilmots said that Vermaelen, who has a knee problem, would definitely miss the game while Kompany is also an uncertain starter as he struggles to overcome a groin injury.

However, Wilmots, who is yet to lose a competitive match since he took over the Red Devils in 2012, said that there were no such concerns over attacking midfielder Marouane Fellaini who quit training on Sunday with an icepack on his left calf.

"I don't know about Vincent and whether he will be fit," said 45-year-old Wilmots.

"We will see how it evolves. Thomas though has not enough time to be fit by tomorrow (Tuesday).

"He will be fit if we make the quarter-finals. He will return to full squad training in a day or two.

"Marouane is fine, no problem."

The absence of 30-year-old Kompany, in particular, would be a huge blow for a Belgian side who have won all three matches in their group but without really convincing performances. - AFP.

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