World Cup final referee Szymon Marciniak has admitted he made a potentially costly mistake during his widely-heralded performance in Qatar. Marciniak was the man in the middle and has been hailed for controlling the chaos as Argentina beat France in one of the most memorable World Cup finals in history.
The Polish referee and his assistants Pawel Sokolnicki and Tomasz Listkiewicz received deserved plaudits, leaving no doubt over crucial decisions in the biggest game on the football calendar. French media slammed him for allowing Lionel Messi’s extra-time goal to stand because three Argentina substitutes broke FIFA rules by entering the pitch before the ball crossed the line.
Marciniak fought back by presenting a screenshot of seven France players standing on the pitch when Kylian Mbappe netted his equalising penalty later in the game. However, while he tackled the game’s big decisions excellently, he has admitted that his performance wasn’t completely error-free.
Speaking to Polish media, he admitted there were a few things he would’ve done differently at the Lusail Stadium, including letting a particular France counter-attack continue. That said, he expressed his delight about making no critical mistakes during the historic encounter despite the difficulty of officiating a game of that magnitude to perfection.
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He told Sport.PL: “Of course, there were mistakes in this final. I interrupted the French counter-attack after a bad tackle by Marcos Acuna.
“I was afraid that the fouled player wanted to unwind, and I read it wrong because nothing happened, and you could give an advantage and then come back with a card. It’s hard. In a game like this, I take such a mistake in the dark. The important thing is that there were no big mistakes.”
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Despite his outstanding display in the World Cup final, the pinnacle for all referees, Marciniak is keeping his feet on the ground. He understands that pressure will now be at an all-time high when he returns to his duties at club level.
“Of course, we also keep our feet firmly on the ground,” he added. “We know where our place is. We know that now the pressure will be even greater because it was like that when we were promoted to the elite. If we go to the league after this World Cup final and we make a mistake, they will say, ‘The World Cup was judged.'”
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