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Brian Hall to Referee Italy-Ecuador; Officials Named for First Two U.S. Matches

SEOUL, Korea (Saturday, May 25, 2002) - U.S. Soccer referee Brian Hall will referee one of the first 32 games of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, running the center of the Italy-Ecuador match on June 3 in Sapporo, Japan. Hall will also serve as the fourth official for the Argentina-England "Group of Death" match on June 7, one of the most anticipated first round matches in years.

Hall will referee the June 3rd Group G match between Italy and Ecuador (match 11) at Sapporo Dome Stadium.  Hall will be joined by another CONCACAF official, as Canada’s Hector Vergara will serve as the 1st assistant referee for the match.  Philip Sharp (England) will serve as the 2nd assistant referee, and Terje Hauge (NOR) will serve as the fourth official.

Hall will work as the fourth official for the most anticipated match of the first round, working the Argentina-England match (match 23) on June7 at Sapporo Dome Stadium.  Italy’s world-renowned Pierluigi Collina will referee the match, with Hector Vergara (CAN) and Mohamed Saeed (MDV) working as the assistant referees.

U.S. referee Brian Hall, who is the first U.S.-born official ever selected to referee the world’s greatest sporting event, has been a Major League Soccer referee since the league’s inception in 1996.  He reached the pinnacle of officiating world in 1992, when, at the age of 31, he was named to US Soccer’s International Panel of FIFA referees.  As a FIFA Referee, Hall has traveled to 27 different countries to apply his trade.

Only referees for the first 32 matches were announced.  The referees for the remaining matches will be announced later.

The 72 match officials selected for the 2002 FIFA World Cup were chosen based on their performance ratings over the past few years.  Not more than one referee was selected from any one national association.

U.S. Draws Referees From Ecuador, Switzerland for First Two Group D Matches

In the USA's World Cup opener against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, Ecuadorian Byron Morean will serve as the referee, and Awni Hassouneh (JOR) and Bomer Fierro (ECU) will work as the assistant referees.  Kuwait's Saad Mane will be the game's fourth official.

The USA's second group D match, against co-hosts Korea on June 5 in Daegu, will be refereed by Switzerland's Urs Meier.  Egon Bereuter (AUT) and Ali Tomusagne (UGA) will serve as the assistant referees for the first U.S. match.  The fourth official is Egypt's Gamal Ghandour.