Poland’s Marciniak best World Cup final referee in history, say experts
As Argentina beat France in the World Cup final, one of the biggest winners of the evening was Polish referee Szymon Marciniak, with some even dubbing him the best World Cup final referee ever.
The game, which some are saying was the most exciting World Cup in the competition’s history, saw Argentina lift the trophy after penalties, following a nail-biting 3-3 result after extra time, which included a hattrick for Kylian Mbappe.
The Polish referee conducted the match almost flawlessly with his performance being praised all over the world.
English referee Howard Webb, who officiated the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa said: "It was the best referee performance in the history of the World Cup."
On Twitter, former English referee Keith Hackett who is ranked among the top 100 referees of all time wrote “The referee and his two Assistants have been brilliant in this game. Terrific decision maker from credible positions. This is because he has read the game and covered a huge amount of ground. Well done to the team of Match Officials."
German refereeing committee member Lutz Wagner said after the match: “A very good performance by the referee, who was absolutely worthy of this great final. Apart from individual decisions, Szymon Marciniak managed the players excellently. He radiated authority. World class."
Meanwhile, former Polish FA boss Zbigniew Boniek revealed that FIFA referee chief Perluigi Collina said that Marciniak was stronger than technology and that he made decisions that were unbelievably accurate and good.
Unsurprisingly, the praise was no less intense closer to home. “It is hard to imagine a better performance in the most important match of the most important football tournament in the world," said former Polish referee Rafał Rostkowski.
Not everyone was satisfied with the Pole’s performance. Perhaps defining the term ‘sour grapes’, French sports daily newspaper L'Equipe gave Marciniak a score of only 2 out of 10 for his performance, writing: “The Pole was not up to the task.”
Marciniak had to make four key decisions during the game, which he made without hesitation and without having to resort to VAR.
He made the right decision in front of an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world when he awarded two penalties to France and one to Argentina.
He also crucially spotted a dive in the penalty area by Frenchman Marcus Thuram, who tried to force another penalty late in the second half.
Commenting on the incident on Twitter, New York Times sports journalist and author Tariq Panja wrote: “Also, a word for the Polish referee Szymon Marciniak.
“He was outstanding. Still can’t believe he spotted that dive in real time. Credit to Collina and Co for the appointment.”