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Swiss referee retained

Meier kept a tight grip on the first round match between the USA and South Korea Keystone

Swiss football referee Urs Meier will return to World Cup action on Sunday as the fourth official in Spain's second round match against the Republic of Ireland.

This content was published on June 13, 2002 - 18:48

Meier will be making his third appearance in this year's World Cup, having refereed the group stage match between the USA and co-hosts South Korea as well as serving as the fourth official during France's goal-less draw with Uruguay.

With Switzerland's football team failing to qualify for this year's World Cup finals, Meier is the only Swiss directly involved in the sporting spectacle.

The 43-year-old from Aargau has built a reputation as one of the world's best referees and took charge of the prestigious European Champions League final shortly before leaving for South Korea.

Unlike Meier, none of the three Swiss-based players taking part in the World Cup finals have managed to make it past the group stages.

Despite a couple of generally solid performances Lucerne and Nigeria goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu was unable to keep his country in contention against Argentina and Sweden and was left on the bench for Nigeria's final match against England.

St Gallen midfielder Teboho Mokoena and Basel striker George Koumantarakis both suffered first round agony with their South African team-mates, who were only eliminated from the tournament after scoring less goals than group B rivals Paraguay.

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