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Rosetti 'honoured' to blow first whistle

Roberto Rosetti considers it an "honour" to follow in the footsteps of mentor Pierluigi Collina by refereeing the opener between Switzerland and Czech Republic.

Italian Roberto Rosetti will take charge of the opening match
Italian Roberto Rosetti will take charge of the opening match ©Getty Images

'Important step'
Speaking at the UEFA referees' base in Regensdorf, the 40-year-old from Turin said: "Yes, of course, it is a very important match for me – it is an honour for me to be here. It is an honour also for my federation. It is an important step in my career and I will try to do a good job." Four years ago in Portugal it was Collina, now head of the Italian Referees' Association, who took charge of the curtain-raiser between Portugal and Greece, and Rosetti said of his mentor: "He was a great referee. Being able to follow him in this way makes me even more proud."

Rise to prominence
Asked about Collina's influence on his career, Rosetti added: "He has been giving me advice for a number of years now. We've worked on my technique, positioning, my mental approach and also on matches." Rosetti's rise to prominence began when he officiated at the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup – including the Spain-Brazil final – and he gained his first taste of a senior international tournament at the FIFA World Cup two summers ago, refereeing four games, including the Round of 16 encounter between France and Spain.

'Pressure is positive'
So while this may be his first UEFA European Championship, he is no stranger to pressure. "Obviously this is a hugely important tournament. The matches are all decisive. But there is also quite intense pressure refereeing in the Italian league. For a referee it is important to approach a game, an event, with the right degree of tension. A bit of pressure is also positive because it helps enhance your focus." To relax, Rosetti spends time "watching films, reading books, speaking to my wife over the internet" yet until the opening game is consigned to history, there will be little escape from the inevitable nerves. He explained: "Right now I am trying to focus my attention on this match with the right level of tension and energy, to try and ensure I impose my qualities on to this game. It is an important game that I will try to referee to the best of my ability."