World Cup final referee responds to French claims of ‘illegal’ goal


Szymon Marciniak hit back after allegations that a goal from Lionel Messi should have been disallowed

Polish referee Szymon Marciniak has commented after allegations from sports magazine L’Equipe that Argentina’s third goal in the World Cup final against France should have been ruled out.

Argentina won their third World Cup title by overcoming defending champions France 4-2 on penalties at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar on Sunday.

A thrilling game had ended 3-3 after extra time, following after a hat-trick from French star Kylian Mbappe and a double from Argentinian captain Lionel Messi.

On Monday, L’Equipe protested that Messi’s 108th-minute strike to put Argentina 3-2 up should not have stood due to two Argentine substitutes encroaching on the pitch, ready to celebrate the positive outcome of a goalmouth scramble.

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Fans and pundits pointed out the potential infringement.
French media fume at ‘illegal’ Messi World Cup goal

Speaking during a press conference, Polish referee Marciniak, who was generally commended for his performance, provided photographic evidence of a goal of France’s that also arguably could have been ruled out.

“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 reported by, Marciniak has also spoken about some of the talks he had with players after the match.

“We have a good relationship with Paulo Dybala. He always comes to the game to say hello from his grandma, he remembers those Polish roots,” Marciniak said. “Now we also talked to him, after the game he threw himself on our necks.”

“The French also thanked them [the officials]. I had a few words with Hugo Loris, high-fived with Olivier Giroud. He got a yellow card but he had no complaints, he said it was a difficult match.

“I told the sad Mbappe that he is a great player and that he will win more than one cup. He leaned against me, it was emotion. I don’t even want to think about what he had in mind at the time,” Marciniak added.

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Goalkeeper Emi Martinez mocked French star Kylian Mbappe.
France complains about ‘abnormal’ Argentinian celebrations

As he revealed at his post-match press conference, though, Didier Deschamps also spoke to Marciniak but was tight-lipped about the content of their conversation.

“I need to be careful – you saw it as well as I did,” Deschamps said in relation to Marciniak’s performance.

“It could have been worse, it could have been better. Before this match Argentina had been a little bit lucky but I don’t want to take anything away from them; they fully deserve the title. 

“It is not because we suffered from any decisions that they came out victorious. I just discussed this with the referee after the game but don’t want to go into details,” Deschamps added.

France haven’t lodged an official complaint about Marciniak’s display but have done so in relation to racist abuse suffered by Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni, who missed their penalties in the shootout.

Furthermore, France Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has complained to the Argentine Football Association (AFA) about Alibceleste goalkeeper Emi Martinez’s “shocking” celebrations in Buenos Aires that saw him mock Mbappe by using a baby doll with the PSG forward’s face on it.

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