Man in the middle

In the tightest moments of the World Cup, no figure looms larger than the ref

Updated: June 24, 2010, 10:49 AM ET
By Doug McIntyre | ESPN The Magazine

The following article appears in ESPN's 2010 World Cup Guide, the digital version of which is free for all ESPN Insiders.

The graphic in the top left corner of the projection screen sets the scene. It's 23 minutes into a scoreless game between Mexico and Colombia. The Colombians are lining up for a corner kick. Off the whistle, the ball is booted into the Mexican penalty area and a Colombian player leaps to head the ball on goal. The delivery is high, and the ball skips ...

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