The UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 final on Saturday between Italy and Russia will be officiated by Fernando Gutiérrez Lumbreras and Saša Tomić, with Marc Birkett acting as third referee and Timo Onatsu the timekeeper.
Though their bid for a fifth successive continental title was ended in the last four by Russia, Spain will be represented in the Sportpaleis showpiece, kick-off 20.30CET, by Gutiérrez Lumbreras. The 43-year-old, like his Croatian counterpart Tomić, has overseen three matches in Antwerp, including the tournament opener between Russia and the Netherlands.
Tomić, 38, and Gutiérrez Lumbreras – who has been on duty at one previous Futsal EURO and was among UEFA's ten officials at the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand – took time out of their busy schedule to discuss their experience in Belgium and what it means to have been given such a prestigious appointment.
UEFA.com: Congratulations, how does it feel to have been selected to oversee the final?
Fernando Gutiérrez Lumbreras: It's very, very good. It's an honour for me to be a referee for this match because on many occasions my national team have been in the final.
Saša Tomić: It's a good feeling, it's my first EURO. Yesterday I had a good match, a classic, between Russia and Spain [4-3]. During the tournament I have been focused for every game and it's a great feeling.
UEFA.com: Where will this rank in your refereeing career?
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: Three years ago I refereed in the [UEFA Futsal Cup] final four in Kazakhstan, where there was no Spanish side, but on a national-team level it's the most important match for me. I'm very happy.
Tomić: It's at the top. I've been a FIFA referee since 2009 and this is the biggest event for me. I'm very proud to be here and to referee the final. It has been my dream.
UEFA.com: How much have you enjoyed the experience of being in Belgium?
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: The most important thing has been the hospitality of the people. I've been very happy with Saša too. We've been together in the same hall, same hotel, experiencing some of the same emotions and matches. It has been very good for us, both on the pitch and off it.
Tomić: We've had a nice time, everything has been excellent. The hospitality – the hotel, the food – has been nice. The Lotto Arena and Sportpaleis are great halls. Everything has been good.
UEFA.com: How important is it going into the final that you worked together previously during this tournament, for the Ukraine v Belgium fixture in the group stage?
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: I'm very pleased to whistle with Saša – the level of our refereeing is similar. Both teams had a chance to qualify in that match. It was challenging and, though there were no goals, it was very good for us. We had no problems, it was perfect.
Tomić: Yes, of course. It was a decisive match that ended 0-0. I had a very good feeling refereeing with Fernando and I'm happy we'll work together tomorrow. I'm relaxed and focused.
UEFA.com: What would represent the ideal game for you and your colleagues on Saturday?
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: The best thing would be if the referee was more or less 'invisible'. I hope next year nobody remembers anything special about the referees. I understand we are in charge of the final, but for futsal people it would better if they do not remember who the referees were.
Tomić: I hope to see a good game with many goals, but the most important thing for me is fair play and respect.
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