Cuneyt Cakir, who has never seen the England squad lose on his watch, will be calling the shots at tonight’s World Cup semi-final between the Three Lions and Croatia.
A UEFA elite referee, the Turkish national has been tasked to preside over the match – England’s first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1990 and also the first time Cakir will be in a major tournament game involving the team. The previous matches he took charge of were four qualifiers and one friendly.
Sky Sports said Cakir, who has been a FIFA-listed referee for more than a decade, also works as an insurance agent on a part-time basis. Outside insurance, he has officiated more than 170 Super Lig matches in Turkey since 2001, as well as three World Cup games four years ago.
Tonight’s semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will be Cakir’s third match in World Cup 2018. Kick-off is at 7pm BST.
The winning team will meet France – who beat Belgium 1-0 – in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Last month the world’s specialist insurance and reinsurance market, which in 2014 correctly predicted Germany’s victory, revealed its forecast for this year’s tournament. Based on the collective insurable value of players, Lloyd’s named France (£1.4 billion) and England (£1.17 billion) as the top two sides.