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Bjorn Kuipers to ref England v Italy

SAO PAULO -- FIFA  said on Thursday that the high-profile Group D match between England and Italy in Manaus will be refereed by Bjorn Kuipers of the Netherlands.

- Bentley: Referee profiles

Kuipers is arguably Europe's top official and refereed the Brazil-Spain Confederations Cup final last June, and the Real Madrid-Atletico Madrid city derby at the Champions League final last month.

American referee Mark Geiger will work his first World Cup game when Colombia play Greece on Saturday. Geiger is a 39-year-old professional referee and former high school teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey.

The Colombia-Greece match in Belo Horizonte opens the Group C program. Also in Group C on Saturday, Enrique Osses of Chile will referee Ivory Coast vs. Japan in Recife. FIFA gave Felix Brych of Germany the Uruguay vs. Costa Rica duty.

Brych handled the Europa League final last month, a penalty shootout win for Seville over Benfica.

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