World Cup final referee Szymon Marciniak has broken his silence on claims that the third goal by Argentina should not have been allowed to stand.
Argentina defeated France in the 2022 World final. Since then, the Polish official, 41, has faced claims from French media that he should have chalked off Argentina’s third goal because ‘two emotional substitutes’ ran onto the pitch before Lionel Messi’s strike crossed the line.
Over 200,000 French fans have signed a petition for the final to be replayed due to his perceived ‘mistakes,’ but Marciniak has defiantly hit back at the criticism thrown in his direction.
During a press conference, as reported by Zach Lowy, he pulled out his phone with a picture which he says was at the time that Kylian Mbappe scored one of his three goals against Argentina.
He said: ‘The French didn’t mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappe scores a goal.’
Having taken a two-goal lead before half time with goals from Messi and Angel Di Maria, Argentina stumbled when Mbappe scored two goals in two minutes to take the game to extra time.
The controversial moment then arrived in the 108th minute as Lautaro Martinez was played through on goal. His effort was well saved by Hugo Lloris, but Messi was darted up to the spot to tap home the rebound from close range.
French media outlet L’Equipe believed the goal should have been disallowed by Marciniak and his team of officials.
Underneath the headline, ‘Why Argentina’s third goal shouldn’t have been awarded’, L’Equipe claim that ‘two emotionally charged substitutes’ entered the pitch before Messi’s shot crossed the line which is ‘strictly prohibited’.
The goal was checked by VAR for offside, but replays showed that Martinez had just managed to stay onside, leading to wild celebrations amongst the Argentina players and fans.
Whether VAR also looked at the substitutes going onto the pitch is unknown, but L’Equipe feels a free-kick should have been awarded to France by the letter of the law.
They point out that Law 3, Paragraph 9 of the Laws of Football reads: ‘If, after a goal is scored, the referee becomes aware before play resumes that 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.’
Meanwhile, Szymon Marciniak countered L’Equipe claiming that French substitutes were on the pitch when Mbappe scored. He suggested that one of Mbappe’s goals should have also been disallowed.
Mbappe scored a third goal deep into extra-time before Argentina went on to win their third World Cup via a penalty shoot-out.
As things stand, despite the petition by French football supporters, it is very unlikely that the FIFA World Cup final will be replayed.
France lost an opportunity to defend and lift the World Cup trophy after Aurelien Tchouameni and Coman missed their penalties.