“The aim will still be the same, to referee the game properly,” Stephanie Frappart had said about her history-defying presence for the game between Costa Rica and Germany.
The French referee and her two colleagues from Brazil Neuza Back and Mexico’s Karen Diaz broke a 92-year glass ceiling to become the first all-female refereeing team for a men’s World Cup match.
The head of FIFA’s Referees Committee, Italian Pierluigi Collina, had said “we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender,” about the appointment.
And the 38-year-old looked unfazed by the scrutinising eyes of the whole world. She had refereed in a French Ligue 1 game in 2019 and took charge of the women’s World Cup final the same year and the UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
Frappart controlled this high-pressure game with the right bit of strictness and leniency, allowing players to express without frequent stoppages. But she was quick to the spot to defuse the overspilling tension when Kai Havertz was stopped by Costa Rican players to retrieve the ball for a restart after he had equalised. The match was played in the right spirit and the only booking came in the 77th minute to Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte.
With Frappart and her partners firmly in control, FIFA was finally winning a game in Qatar 2022.
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