Polish referee Syzmon Marciniak is one of the favorites to officiate Sunday’s World Cup final, with much depending on who FIFA chief referee Pierluigi Collina selects for the second semi-final on Wednesday.
Marciniak, as well as Mexican referee Cesar Ramos and American Ismael Elfath, are the main contenders for the final – the pinnacle of a refereeing career. One of Marciniak and Ramos could alternatively be selected for the second semi-final between Morocco and France, which will be announced on Monday and will give an idea of who will get into the final.
Elfath, a Major League Soccer referee who was born in Morocco and moved to the US as an 18-year-old, will not be able to officiate Wednesday’s semifinal in his native country. He would also not be able to referee the final if Morocco got that far.
Among those sent home is England referee Michael Oliver. He got the grand quarterfinal between Brazil and Croatia. Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio, who was heavily criticized by England players for his role in their quarter-final defeat to France, is still present at the tournament.
Collina handed the first semi-final, between Argentina and Croatia, to Italian Daniele Orsato, who also played the opening match of the tournament between hosts Qatar and Ecuador. Orsato was another potential final referee but he will have to settle for a semi-final.
Marciniak has so far taken the lead between France and Denmark and Argentina in the second round with Australia. He missed Euro 2020 after doctors diagnosed him with tachycardia, a condition in which the heart beats abnormally fast. He is a regular Champions and Europa League referee and was also one of the officials at the FIFA Arab Cup test event in Qatar a year earlier.
The appointment of referees is recommended by Collina and his team, who must then seek approval from the committee. The selection process has come under scrutiny in recent days, with Portuguese players and staff expressed dissatisfaction with being assigned an Argentine referee Facundo Tello for their quarter-final clash with Morocco.
Defender Pepe said on Saturday it was “unacceptable” that FIFA had appointed an Argentinian to referee his team’s match in light of complaints from Argentine players over referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz’s conduct in their quarter-final tie with the Netherlands. Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez described the Spanish referee as “useless”.
The pressure on Collina and Fifa to close the tournament smoothly was increased by the performance of referee Sampaio. England players and pundits were critical of referee Sampaio’s performance as England crashed out of the World Cup.
The Brazilian referee awarded England two penalties in their 2-1 defeat to France – the second of which was missed late by captain Harry Kane – but he was still widely criticized.
England’s first problem with the referee was in the run-up to the first goal, where Bukayo Saka protested for a foul following Dayot Upamecano’s challenge.
Kane also felt he was tripped by Upamecano in the penalty area in the first half. Centre-back Harry Maguire said the referee’s performance was “very poor…from the first minute. [There were] five or six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not a single yellow card.
“For me it’s a foul for the first goal in the run-up [to it on] Bukayo [Saka].
“I don’t want to get into it too much because I end up being fined, but it was really, really bad. His decisions during the game, not just the big decisions, even if the big decisions were wrong, he never gave us something.”
How many referees work at Qatar 2002?
36 referees will officiate the 64 matches of the World Cup tournament. Those referees come from 29 different countries.
Which country has the most referees at the World Cup?
Of the various nations represented; four countries have two. That’s serial World Cup winners France, Brazil, Argentina and, what do you know, little old England.
So how many English referees are there at the World Cup?
England has two umpires: Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor.