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Ref Watch: Damir Skomina, Euro U21 Final



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This article is an analysis of a referee’s performance during a game (based on my personal opinion). I watched the Holland vs Serbia European U-21 Championship final closely and took notes on how many good and bad calls the referee made and who was generally favored.

There were a few guidelines I laid down for myself before the game started which I feel should be shared to facilitate your understanding of the article:

  • no outs were counted unless the decision was bad;
  • if the referee ignored a challenge that seemed to be a foul but turned out to be legitimate, I did not put it down as a ‘good decision’;
  • the issuing of yellow or red cards were not taken down as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decisions, however if the call was dubious it would be discussed in the commentary;
  • if the referee played the advantage and I thought it was a foul, it will come out to be a ‘good’ call;
  • in the ‘Referee statistics’ section, the number in brackets represents calls made by either of the linesmen;
  • the accuracy percentages are rounded to the nearest unit, they are calculated as (right calls/all calls )* 100.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the match itself.

Match Report

The championship final between the hosts, Holland and Serbia was a quiet but entertaining affair. The referee, 30 year old Damir Skomina from Slovenia (he was the youngest referee at the tournament) had several key decision to make, but they were clear calls for the most part.

Match Statistics

Netherlands Serbia
4 Goals scored 1
2 Yellow card 6
0 Red card 1
9 Shots on goal 4
5 Shots wide 5
17 Fouls committed 10
8 Corners 2
8 Offsides 3
29′ 25” Ball. Poss. (time) 28′ 1”
51% Ball. Poss. (%) 49%

(Source: Uefa.com)

Referee Statistics:

SERBIA (favoured):

Good calls: 14 (7)
Bad calls: 2 (4)
Difference: 12 (3)

HOLLAND (favoured):
Good calls: 12 (2)
Bad calls: 2 (1)
Difference: 10 (1)


Serbia: 88% (64%)
Holland: 86% (33%)
Overall: 87% (55%)

Key moments

One of the few and important wrong decisions by Mr. Skomina during the final was a 40th minute foul by a Dutch defender on the edge of his own area to stop a high-speed Serbian counter attack. The foul, though it was committed in a dangerous area and could have provided the Serbs with a decent scoring opportunity and could have resulted in a yellow card, was not seen by the referee.

The next big decision the ref had to make was in the 60th minute and it saw Kolarov sent off. After a useless horror tackle from behind on the half-way line, the Serbian defender was shown a second yellow. In truth had he not been already booked, he might have been shown a straight red. At this point the Dutch were two goals and one man up and the game was effectively over for the Serbs.

In the 70th minute, the referee saw a foul on Ryan Babel in the area and sent the young Dutchmen to the spot only to see them denied by the goalkeeper.

With Holland 4-1 up and the game entering the final two minutes, Mr. Skomina made his biggest gaffe of the game. After being fouled by Rukavina, Beerens turned around and shoved his opponent. At this point, with nothing at stake the referee only showed a yellow card to each; however the gesture called for a straight red card. Hopefully someone will take some action against Beerens as these are the kind of actions that make a wonderful game seem average.

However the ref did redeem himself by not adding any time on to a great game that was becoming increasingly tense and drab in the final few minutes.

The verdict

Damir Skomina had an almost brilliant performance, with the only downside of his it being his failure to send Beerens off. He made the right calls and remained impartial for the whole game, though he was not aided by his disappointing assistants. He did not affect the end result in any way possible and therefore is one of the referees that I would like to see more of in Europe’s top competitions. Surely at 30 years of age he has bright career in front of him.