The FIFA World Cup final between France and Argentina ended with the South Americans beating the defending champions 4-2 on penalties. While Argentina were better than the French for the most part of the game, Kylian Mbappe‘s hat-trick turned the match into a spectacle, with the penalty shootout eventually being the deciding factor. After Argentina lifted the trophy, a controversy, however, struck as claims of Lionel Messi‘s second goal (in the extra-time) being illegitimate emerged. The FIFA World Cup final referee, however, has now broken his silence on the matter.
Leading French publication L’Equipe had run an article: “Why Argentina’s third goal shouldn’t have been awarded”. In the article, 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.”
Speaking to the media, the Polish referee Szymon Marciniak suggested that while French publications went gaga over Argentina substitutes entering the field before the goal was given, they didn’t mention anything about French substitutes doing the same for one of Mbappe’s goals in the match.
“The French didn’t mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappé scores a goal,” he told Polish media, as suggested by Express UK.
Szymon Marciniak, the referee for the World Cup Final, has responded to @lequipe‘s criticism that Lionel Messi’s second goal shouldn’t have counted:
“The French didn’t mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappé scores a goal.” pic.twitter.com/MW6y73iiLN
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) December 23, 2022
In a press conference, Marcinak held his phone up and showed a picture where some French subs could be seen stepping into the playing field right before one of Mbappe’s goals.
The referee, however, did admit that he made one mistake in the final.
“Of course, there were mistakes in this final. I interrupted the French counter-attack after a bad tackle by Marcos Acuna,” he told Sport.
“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,” he added.
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