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Japan vs Croatia referee: Who are the match officials for the 2022 World Cup round of 16 clash?

Chris Byfield

| Last updated 

Japan vs Croatia referee: Who are the match officials for the 2022 World Cup round of 16 clash?

World Cup giant-killers Japan take on Croatia in a last-16 clash at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Hajime Moriyasu's men remarkably topped Group E after pulling off shock victories against 2010 winners Spain and 2014 winners Germany.

They will endeavour to pull off another major scalp in tonight’s round of 16 clash.

Croatia, who were World Cup runners-up in 2018, edged through Group F in second place behind Morocco.


Zlatko Dalić’s side played out two goalless draws against Morocco and Belgium in their group, either side of a comprehensive victory over Canada.

With a place in the last eight up for grabs, here is all you need to know about the referee.

Ismail Elfath

Ismail Elfath is a US-based official who has refereed in Major League Soccer since 2012 and has been a FIFA-listed referee since 2016.



In 2016 the 40-year-old was involved in the first-ever use of VAR in a match between New York Red Bulls II and Orlando City B.

Since his career has gone from strength to strength. He was appointed to officiate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2019, and a year later, he was named the MLS Referee of the Year.

He also took charge of three matches at the Tokyo Olympics and was one of two CONCACAF referees that chosen for the African Cup of Nations in January.


Elfath was involved in perhaps the most wholesome moment between a referee and player so far during the Qatar World Cup. Vincent Aboubakar earned Cameroon a memorable late win against Brazil, before sprinting to the corner flag and ripping off his shirt in celebration.

However, having been booked prior to the goal, he was then shown a second yellow by Elfath, who smiled and congratulated the striker before reluctantly sending Aboubakar off the pitch.

Who are the other officials for Sunday's match?

Assistant Referee 1: Corey Parker (USA)


Assistant Referee 2: Kyle Atkins (USA)

Fourth Official: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)

Video Assistant Referee: Nicolas Gallo (COL)

Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Julio Bascunan (CHI)


Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Football, Croatia, Japan, Football World Cup

Chris Byfield
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