Nestor Pitana to referee 2018 World Cup opening match

Pitana will become the second Argentinian referee to participate in two World Cups after Norberto Coerezza.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia on June 14.   -  Getty Images

Argentina’s Nestor Pitana has been assigned as the referee for the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Pitana is set to become the second Argentinian referee to participate in two World Cups after Norberto Coerezza, who oversaw two games in 1970 and one in 1978. Pitana is one of South America’s most experienced referees.

He made his debut in the Argentinian league in 2007 and officiated his first international match in 2010. At the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, he oversaw four fixtures including the quarterfinal clash between France and Germany.

Pitana returned to Brazil in 2016 for the Olympic Football Tournament, where he was the man in the middle for the semi-final between Germany and Nigeria. A year later, he was involved in another semi-final, in the FIFA Confederations Cup between Germany and Mexico.

He will be assisted by compatriots Juan Pablo Bellati and Hernan Maidana, with Sandro Ricci from Brazil designated as the fourth official. 

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) team is composed of Massimiliano Irrati of Italy, Mauro Vigliano of Argentina, Carlos Astroza of Chile and Daniele Orsato of Italy.