Goal.com profiles the 12 referees who will be in charge in Poland and Ukraine. Here we take a closer look at Portuguese official Pedro ProencaPROFILE
Pedro Proenca Oliveira Alves Garcia took up refereeing in 1988, at the age of 18, and has enjoyed a steady progression in officiating circles ever since. He comes into Euro 2012, in what will be his first-ever major international competition, off the back of this season's Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Born in Lisbon, the financial advisor, who enjoys skiing, reading and writing in his spare time, became a Fifa-listed referee in 2003, just five years after he started to officiate matches in the top tier of Portuguese football. He was then eased into international refereeing, taking charge of three matches at the 2004 Under-19 Championships, including the final between Turkey and Spain.
He continued to move up the ladder, officiating his first Champions League game in 2007, and two years later he was promoted to Uefa's Elite category. In 2010-11, Proenca oversaw five matches in the Champions League, including the semi-final contest between Manchester United and Schalke.
|PEDRO PROENCA | Portugal
He put in a solid display in the Champions League final in Munich, correctly awarding an extra-time penalty for a foul on Franck Ribery by Didier Drogba.
Domestically, the 41-year-old has established himself as one of the top referees in Portugal. He was named Referee of the Year in 2006-07 and 2010-11, and has officiated 10 matches involving the country’s big three, as well as two Portuguese Cup finals and three Super Cups.
However, he came under intense criticism from the Benfica faithful in 2009 after he awarded Porto a penalty in the 1-1 draw at the Estadio da Luz when Lisandro Lopez was felled inside the box. The Argentine striker was later suspended by the Portuguese Football Federation for diving and Proenca admitted to having made a mistake.
|PROENCA'S SUPPORTING TEAM
|Assistant Ref 1||Bertmino Miranda
|Assistant Ref 2
|Assistant Ref 3
||Tiago Trigo (Standby)|
"There are some moments in life in which the acts of some fanatic people make you reflect and wonder whether it is worth it to fight for everything you consider just and correct," Proenca wrote.
"This thought invades us only for a few seconds, because the only path to follow is that of truth, justice and equality.
"What does not kill you makes you stronger. We may fall to the ground, but we will never be beaten."
More recently, Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira lambasted Proenca for some questionable calls in the club's 3-2 Portuguese Liga defeat against Porto, but fellow referee Duarte Gomes came out in defence of the 41-year-old.
"Pedro Proenca is by far the best referee right now, one of the best in Europe, and surely the one who dedicates the most to his cause, day after day," Gomes said.
"He knows better than anyone that hard moments are nothing more than the prelude to the truly unforgettable moments that are coming.
"These are what champions, like him, are all about."
As a typical Portuguese referee, Proenca is very strict and not concerned about letting the game flow. If he feels his authority is being questioned, he will start to brandish yellow cards. Players will need to be very careful around him, otherwise they will risk going for an early bath.