Officiating in a World Cup final is the footballing pinnacle for many referees, but the responsibility that comes with taking charge of the world’s biggest football match is huge.
However, Polish referee Szymon Marciniak rose to the occasion, with his performance in Argentina’s win over France regarded as one of the best the World Cup finals have ever seen, with his decision to penalise Marcus Thuram for a dive in the box with just a few minutes left of normal time widely praised by journalists and former referees.
This is SENSATIONAL refereeing. Cannot tell you how hard it is to detect a simulation offence like this, let alone with minutes left in the World Cup Final. Well done Szymon Marciniak 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/TtrO5HBB33
— Jason Keen (@Jason_Keen) December 18, 2022
A former player, Marciniak has refereed over 300 Polish Ekstraklasa matches, with the 2022 World Cup being his third major tournament as an official after Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
Despite the praise he received for his handling of the match, Marciniak has since come out to admit that he feels that he made one mistake during the final.
“I interrupted the French counter-attack after a bad tackle by Marcos Acuna.
“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.”
The final was Marciniak’s third at the tournament, after taking charge of France’s group stage victory over Denmark and Argentina’s Round of 16 win against Australia.
A superb refereeing performance from the Pole to go along with arguably the best World Cup final the game has ever seen rounded off a memorable World Cup, as attention now turns to 2026 when the USA, Mexico and Canada will host the 23rd edition of the tournament.