It is a time of major responsibility for Slovenian referee Matej Jug. The 32-year-old has been tasked with handling Tuesday's UEFA European Under-21 Championship final between Italy and Spain in Jerusalem, soon after celebrating the birth of his second son Miha. Jug told UEFA.com that the support of his family, and of countryman and UEFA EURO 2012 colleague Damir Skomina, is a "big motivation" for him.
UEFA.com: Congratulations on your appointment – how did you feel on hearing the news?
Matej Jug: Of course, it's great news, I'm delighted. It's a great honour for a referee to be at the final and of course, on the other side, a very big responsibility. Also, it is very important that the family supports you on your way [to these achievements] and my family does that a lot. In the last few days we have had a second child so that is one more special event for me: I will remember June 2013 forever. These things give you the motivation to be even better.
UEFA.com: How have you and your team enjoyed this tournament, and what challenges has it presented to you?
Jug: Nowadays it's very important to have a very good team [of officials] because there must be cooperation between us, both on and off the pitch. So we try to find out positive and negative points, watch the clips of match situations, and analyse the teams in order to do our best on the field. Now it's important to prepare well for the final – football nowadays is at a very high level so we look at the teams in a tactical and technical way in order to try and be at our best.
UEFA.com: How important have your experiences been in UEFA matches and as part of Damir Skomina's team at UEFA EURO 2012?
Jug: Of course, I have done some matches in the UEFA Europa League but I think this tournament is the biggest one after EURO. It's a very important step in my career and it will help me reach the next level – I'm very proud of being at this tournament. I can say that I learned a lot from Damir, he's one of the best referees at the moment. He gives me a lot of advice and also at EURO, it was a big tournament and an excellent experience for me. Damir has congratulated me [since the appointment] and was very happy there is a Slovenian referee who will officiate in the final.
UEFA.com: You have previously refereed a domestic cup final. How do you prepare for a big game?
Jug: For me, every match is the same, whether it is played at a high or a low level. I go through the same routine so it is important to have your own style and your own preparation for a match.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.