After an exciting month full of captivating football action, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will come to an end on 18th December. It has been a unique world cup that was held in the end of the year unlike previous ones which took place between June and July.
Despite the hosts soaking in the storm of controversy regarding various allegations, the world cup has not been as boring as people thought. It has produced biggest shocks with countries such as Japan and Morocco which were considered dark horses transforming into giant killers.
But there have been numerous complaints on officiating decisions. A number of referees have been accused of making woeful decisions with regards to awarding (or failure to give) penalties. This means that the referee who will oversee the finals between France and Argentina will have to be meticulous and maintain focus throughout the game.
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Across the globe, all eyes will be fixed on the man of the moment: Szymon Marciniak. He is a 41 year old referee from Poland. Various criteria were used to award him the role with one of the factors being his nationality.
For instance, it would be unacceptable to have a referee from Brazil to officiate the finals owing to the big football rivalry between Argentina and Brazil. Marciniak bears a striking resemblance to retired referee Pierlugi Collina who is regarded as one of the best referees in the history of football.
The ‘unfair’ red card
Marciniak has been a FIFA referee since 2011. According to him, he was influenced to pursue refereeing after he was once sent off ‘unfairly’. While playing for Wisla Plock, he was tackled from behind but instead the referee booked him and thereafter sent him off after a second bookable offense.
After the match, Marciniak approached the referee to express his disappointment. However, he was savagely told off and asked to ‘become a referee if he thought it was an easy task.’
“We spoke after the game, and he told me a very important sentence: If you think this is easy work, go and try. You will see. I was thought: why not? So, immediately I went for the course and started refereeing. I am grateful for him because if not for this red card – I would probably never have become a referee,” Marciniak said recently.
Marciniak has been a referee for World Cup Qualifiers in Europe. He has also been a UEFA Champions League referee. However, before the world cup, his career suffered a blow after he suffered tachycardia, a condition with higher than normal pulse rate. Having recovered, Marciniak is positive that what he went through has been a great life lesson.
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“I had tachycardia and it’s the sickness of the heart and you know the beginning was difficult for me because I had to stop and missed European Championships.”
“It was a terrible feeling (but) life sometimes takes something from us to give double happiness. I can say I’m a great example of this,” he said in a recent interview.
In the current edition of the world cup, he oversaw two matches. One was the round of 16 between Argentina and Australia which the former won 2-1. Marciniak issued only 2 yellow cards during the match.
He was also in charge of the group match between France and Denmark where he registered 3 bookings.
Marciniak says he expects a final which players will be very keen especially in the starting minutes. He has prepared himself for the task ahead by relearning various aspects of the game.
“I hope I will sleep well, this is very important then a light breakfast and small tactical preparations with boys (assistant referees) because nowadays the most important are tactical approaches like setpieces. These are things we know already but we want to repeat,” he said.