Referee Szymon Marciniak with a strong performance
IAt least the referee Szymon Marciniak received a medal after this fascinating World Cup final, to which the referee also had a lot to contribute. Actually, the 41-year-old Pole would have deserved at least one golden whistle for his exemplary performance.
Marciniak communicated strongly, avoided any form of self-expression and kept everything under control without having to show many yellow cards. What was most fascinating, however, was his brilliance in an area in which many of his colleagues seem increasingly disoriented: Marciniak saw all the important scenes correctly himself, without any help from a video cellar.
A small sensation
The evaluation of some situations was extremely demanding. Argentina’s pre-penalty foul, for example, when Dembélé brought down Di María. Or Thuram’s swallow in the penalty area, which Marciniak recognized just as safely and quickly as Otamendi’s penalty foul on Kolo Muani and Montiel’s handball before the penalty kick to make it 3-3.
That was a bit of a sensation, because that determination in decision-making has atrophied since the introduction of VAR. And there’s probably a reason for this ability: Marciniak was a good footballer himself. In the A-youth he played in the youth of the first division club Wisla Plock for the Polish championship, later he was there in the third division in action.
For those critics who have long been calling for referees to play more themselves to hone their sense of movement, this final made a strong case.