MIKE DEAN: Superb Polish referee Szymon Marciniak made THE decision of the World Cup when he booked Marcus Thuram for diving instead of awarding France a penalty
I was inside the Lusail Stadium to witness a great refereeing performance. Imagine the pressure that Szymon Marciniak, this 41-year-old former footballer from Poland, was under.
A game watched by millions worldwide, with so much resting on his decision-making, and yet his officiating was superb in a World Cup classic.
Marcus Thuram is shown a yellow card by referee Szymon Marciniak after going down easily
As soon as Angel Di Maria went down under pressure from Ousmane Dembele, I thought: ‘Penalty.’ Marciniak had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and, notably, no French players rushed to him in protest.
There was definite contact, most notably Di Maria’s left leg being caught by Dembele’s right leg. VAR Tomasz Kwiatkowski was never going to overturn his colleague’s on-field decision.
Argentina were awarded an early penalty for Ousmane Dembele’s foul on Angel di Maria
Randal Kolo Muani got behind the Argentinian defense and was fouled by Nicolas Otamendi. Again, there was clear contact. Again, it was a clear foul in the box. Again, Marciniak made no mistake in spotting it and awarding another penalty.
What. A.Decision. Arguably the best of them all. When Enzo Fernandez closed down Marcus Thuram, the Frenchman went down.
But Marciniak, having placed himself in an excellent position, saw how Fernandez had pulled out of the challenge. Marciniak rightly booked the Frenchman.
FRANCE’S SECOND PENALTY
Mbappe’s shot was heading towards goal until it was stopped by the outstretched elbow of Gonzalo Montiel. Yet another huge call but Marciniak was on it again, pointing to the penalty spot.
Argentina and France’s players gave us great entertainment, but bravo to Marciniak as well.