ANTONIO MATEU LAHOZ is one of the most highly-respected officials in Europe.
And the hugely-experienced Spaniard, 45, takes charge of Iran vs USA in the group stages.
Who is Antonio Mateu Lahoz?
One of the games most eccentric and entertaining refs, Lahoz often rocks up to stadiums wearing rock-star sunglasses and a beaming grin.
Active since 1999, the Spaniard became Fifa-listed in 2011 and took charge of the World Cup 2014 qualifying games.
He’s a regular fixture in La Liga and has been accused in the past of favouring Real Madrid by some fans.
Lahoz is also famous for handing out yellow cards for the slightest of confrontations while ignoring potentially dangerous challenges.
A bizarre showing in Italy’s World Cup qualifier defeat to Sweden saw him blasted on the internet, with one viewer ranting: “The referee in the game is far too bothered about being the centre of attention.”
Giving an insight into his style, Lahoz revealed: “For me, reading what is being said in the media in the lead up to a game is fundamental.
“I want to know how every player comes into the game, if there is pressure, if they have been accused of diving, how many bookings they have. I spend hours reading, watching videos and making notes on my next game.”
Has he officiated at major tournaments before?
Mateu Lahoz made his European Championship debut in 2021 by taking charge of Belgium’s 3-0 win over Russia in St Petersburg.