In the very last play of the Sudan vs Poland game in Wednesday's quarterfinals, the referee got punched in the face by #12 on Sudan. The ref dropped like a sack, everyone kind of looked on in shock, the teams left the field (Sudan first, to boos from the crowd and some of the players giving the finger to the spectators) and that was it.
The sharp jab was preceded by a whole ton of events. In chronological order:
1. With nine minutes left in the second half there is a hard foul on a Poland player. Pushing and shoving happens. Suddenly a really hard push, and then a punch thrown. The benches clear. Now we see multiple shoves, a few obvious punches and a flying kick to the back by a Sudan player to a Poland player. One of the people on the Sudan bench chases the referee but doesn't get thrown out.\
2. Rough play continues for the remainder of the game. Sudan has essentially lost so they don't care. Nothing serious though.
3. Last minute of play there is a bouncing ball near the middle of the field. Chewy for Poland goes up to head the ball. #12 for Sudan jumps in the air and lays out Chewy with a crazy body check, comes nowhere near the ball. Obvious red card, seriously. Referee goes right to the back pocket and approaches #12. About 3 feet away. Brings out the red card. Reaction is instant and #12 (who is quite tall) gives a lightning-quick jab that catches the referee right on the chin. The referee drops to the ground and lies motionless.
4. Shock from everyone. Assistant referees get in there right away and clear everyone out. People make sure the ref is OK.
5. Referee eventually gets up and walks off. Not for certain, but he seemed to be all right.
6.Someone has called the cops in the meantime. At least six officers on the field and around the facility.
7. Word is that neither of the teams was allowed to leave the dressing room area until all of the spectators were gone, for safety reasons. People had already been thrown out earlier in the night for trying to fight people on the Sudan and Nigeria squads.
8. I'm guessing that charges will be laid. You can't strike a referee in front of hundreds of witnesses and think there will be no repercussions.