Football: Webb all set for big semi-final

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It is likely to be a slimmed-down version of Howard Webb when he referees the Italy-Spain semi-final in the Confederations Cup in Brazil tonight.

The effects of the heat and humidity meant the Rotherham referee lost no fewer than TEN pounds in weight when he refereed the Brazil-Mexico game last Wednesday Fortaleza - also the venue for tonight’s clash.

The thorough checks that referees undertake revealed that he burned off 3,000 calories during the game which was played in the late afternoon, Brazil time, but with high humidity.

Such effects on the participants underlines the value of the right physical preparation and then the subsequent recovery programme and Webb is understood to have come through the game and its aftermath, very well.

With referees unable to take charge of a game involving a team from their own confederation against opponents from a different confederation, Webb’s inolvement was restricted because there was a European team, Italy and Spain, in each group.

Now they meet and it is the first time he has taken a Spain game since refereeing them in the 2010 World Cup Final.