SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is worried about the Algerian referee assigned to the Americans' second-round World Cup match against Belgium on Tuesday.
FIFA announced Sunday that Djamel Haimoudi will work the game. Haimoudi is a veteran of the last two African Cups of Nations and worked a pair of group-stage matches at this year's World Cup.
Klinsmann said Monday the French-speaking referee will be able to communicate better with the Belgians, comes from a nation that was in the same first-round group with Belgium and is from a country eliminated by the U.S. at the 2010 tournament.
"Well, we hope it's not a concern," Klinsmann said at a news conference. "Is it a good feeling? No."
Belgian coach Marc Wilmots dismissed Klinsmann's comments.
"If we start going into this, it is looking for excuses ahead of the match," Wilmots said. "So to us, if it happens, too bad. We will shut up and return and try to get qualified again. This is football.
"I rarely talk to referees. That is one thing. The three referees in the group stage, I never talked to them. And a referee is not there to talk, but to referee."
Haimoudi, 43, worked at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 and 2012 and refereed Italy's third-place win over Uruguay at last year's Confederations Cup. At this World Cup, he officiated the Netherlands' 3-2 win over Australia and Costa Rica's 0-0 draw with England.
"We know that he did already two games so far, and he did them very well, so we wish that he continues his refereeing the perfect way he's done so far," Klinsmann said.
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