Ben Williams: “My Messi encounter at Brazil 2014”

​Australian referee Ben Williams is still on cloud nine after he became the first Australian referee to officiate at a knockout stage of a FIFA World Cup – he even crossed paths with Argentina’s main man.

Williams is back in Canberra still pinching himself after he officiated at the FIFA World Cup, including Greece’s clash with Costa Rica in the round of 16.

And he got close up with superstar Lionel Messi – voted the player of the tournament – in his role as the fourth official during Argentina’s quarter-final clash with Belgium.

“It lived up [to] and exceeded the expectations; it was a dream come true wherever a World Cup would be, let alone in the spiritual home of football in Brazil,” Williams told The Canberra Times.

“When I was the fourth official, I had to do the checks in the dressing room and I walked straight past Messi as I walked in.

“You can’t afford to be awestruck because if you are you’re not doing your job properly.

“He’s just another bloke with a number on his back.”

Williams and his Australian assistants Matthew Cream and Hakan Anaz worked together on the Ecuador and Honduras clash in Curitiba.

This was followed by Belgium’s 1-0 win over Korea Republic in Sao Paulo before the round of 16 clash in the heat of Recife.

“There’s pressure in any match you do at the World Cup, let alone a knock-out match.

“You know what it means to the countries, but again you just prepare the best you can,” Williams added.

The Aussie ref hopes to officiate at the AFC Asian Cup next January in Australia.