Defending champion France takes on Poland in the FIFA World Cup 2022 round of 16 clash at Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday. The game will start at 8:30 PM Indian Standard Time.
France topped Group D despite its shock defeat to Tunisia. Didier Deschamps’s team opened its campaign with a resounding 4-1 win over Australia and followed it up with a 2-1 win over Denmark. These two wins were enough for France to advance to the pre-quarterfinals.
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Poland, meanwhile, finished second in Group C. Czeslaw Michniewicz’s team began its campaign with a draw against Mexico before beating Saudi Arabia. However, in its final group game, Poland lost to Argentina 2-0.
Both sides met 16 times before Sunday’s clash, with France winning eight matches, while Poland emerged the winner on three occasions. The remaining matches ended in draws.
FIFA appointed Venezuelan referee Jesus Valenzuela Saez to officiate today’s match.
Who is Valenzuela Saez ?
The 39-year-old is a Venezuelan referee. He has experience officiating Copa America, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Liga FUTVE - the premier division of Venezuelan football, and FIFA World Cup matches.
Saez joined the FIFA referee panel in 2013.
In the 2021 Copa America, he oversaw the semifinal between Argentina and Colombia which saw Lionel Messi score the winning penalty in the shootout. Saez also officiated football matches at the Tokyo Olympics.
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In Qatar World Cup, he oversaw the Group B clash between England and the USA, that ended in a goalless draw. In that game, Saez let the game flow on its own terms as he did not book any player. That was quite surprising, given his record in Liga FUTVE.
In the Venezuelan league, he showed the red card to six players. This year, he officiated eight matches and issued a total of 12 yellow cards.
In today’s match, Valenzuela Saez will be assisted by compatriots Jorge Urrego Martinez, Tulio Moreno with Peruvian Kevin Ortega as fourth official.
Match officials for France vs Poland round of 16 clash
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