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World Cup final referee hits back after criticism over Argentina goal

ONE week after the Qatar 2022 World Cup final in Doha, the referee of the thrilling encounter has spoken out to defend his actions.

Argentina won the dramatic final 4-2 on penalties after full-time and extra-time ended 3-3, with France coming back from 2-0 and then 3-2 down.

The drama around the match continued yesterday as the centre referee, Szymon Marciniak from Poland, showed a photo on his phone during a news conference to respond to claims that Lionel Messi’s extra-time goal should not have stood.

Marciniak, who was the first referee from Poland to officiate a World Cup final, faced criticism from French media that he should have disallowed Messi’s extra-time goal because two Argentina substitutes appeared to enter the pitch before the ball went into the net.

French newspaper L’Equipe mentioned the International Football Association Board’s Law 3, paragraph 9, which includes that the referee must disallow the goal if a substituted player was on the field of play when the goal was scored.

Marciniak responded to the criticism by pulling up a screenshot on his phone that showed seven French substitutes had entered the field while they were celebrating one of Mbappe’s goals.

“The French didn’t mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappe scores a goal,” Marciniak said as he held up the phone while speaking to reporters.

Marciniak’s comments came after a petition, asking the final to be replayed due to officiating errors, was launched. The petition has so far crossed 220,000 signatures.

Messi scored twice during the rollercoaster final and was awarded the Golden Ball for the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick for France to claim the Golden Boot for top scorer with eight goals overall.

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