All eyes will be on Al Rayyan as Croatia and Brazil kick off the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals at the Education City Stadium on December 9.
There might be star names on display for both sides on the pitch, but the man in the middle will come under huge focus, as Premier League referee Michael Oliver takes charge of the action.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) December 7, 2022
Oliver was selected by FIFA for Qatar 2022, his first senior level World Cup assignment, after over a decade of games in the English top flight.
His position as one of the youngest referees at the tournament does hint at inexperience for the 37-year-old, who has refereed in the Premier League since 2010 and the Champions League since 2016.
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Who is Croatia vs Brazil referee Michael Oliver?
Oliver is a household name within Premier League football, with the 2022/23 season his 13th campaign in charge of some of the biggest games in England.
He officiated the 2018 and 2021 FA Cup finals at Wembley Stadium with his first major UEFA final coming in the 2022 UEFA Super Cup in August.
UEFA called up him up for Euro 2020 duty last summer. He had previously refereed qualification matches and UEFA Nations League action, with Qatar his first taste of a FIFA World Cup.
This tie is his first meeting with Brazil, but Oliver has refereed Croatia three times in his career, across friendly and competitive action. He issued a red card for Marko Rog in their 3-2 UEFA Nations League defeat to Portugal in November 2020.
|Date||Stage||Result||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Nov. 27, 2022||Group Stage||Japan 0-1 Costa Rica||6||0|
|Nov. 30, 2022||Group Stage||Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico||7||0|
Michael Oliver referee style
Oliver has developed a reputation for caution in making big decisions with good communication skills with players and coaches to avoid flashpoints.
His only Premier League red card this season, given to Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz after a VAR review, was later overturned by the FA.
However, he is willing to hand out yellow cards with ease, with an average of 6.5 shown by him so far at the 2022 World Cup.
Everything to know about Michael Oliver
Oliver has been involved in officiating since an early age, with his father also working as a referee, covering local level football in Northern England.
His road to Qatar started as a 22-year-old in the fifth tier of English football, but he has developed a habit for breaking records as an official.
His first big break was as the youngest ever referee at Wembley Stadium, after taking charge of the 2007 Conference National play-off final, before becoming the youngest Premier League referee in 2010.