Szymon Marciniak, the referee who officiated the FIFA World Cup 2022 final, retorted at accusations of biases against France for not disallowing Argentina’s third goal.
In the Qatar World Cup final at the Lusail Stadium, Argentina prevailed over France 4-2 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied at 3-3 in extra time.
Lionel Messi scored twice, while Angel Di Maria found the back of the net once for La Albiceleste. For Les Bleus, Kylian Mbappe staged a fight back, scoring a hat-trick - the last one from a penalty which forced the match to be decided in the shootout.
Since the final, on December 18 night, Marciniak has been under fire from French supporters who went on to sign a petition to get the match replayed due to “mistakes”.
The centre of the dispute was Messi’s second goal which made 3-2 for Argentina in the extra time. The French said the goal should have been disallowed, with footage showing two substitutes on the pitch as the Argentina captain sent the ball over the line.
Questioning the goal’s validity, the French newspaper L’Equipe ran an article ‘Why Argentina’s third goal shouldn’t have been awarded’. It wrote, “An additional person was on the pitch at the time the goal was scored: the referee must disallow the goal if the extra person was: a player, substitute, substituted player, sent off player or official of the team who scored the goal; play must be restarted with a direct free kick from the place where the extra person was.”
Responding to the backlash at a press conference, Marciniak, who had been widely praised before the final for his conduct in Qatar World Cup, slammed the newspaper as well as the fans.
Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he said, “The French didn’t mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappe scores a goal.” He referred to Mbappe’s third goal that forced the match into a shootout.