World Cup final referee responds to claims about Lionel Messi's second goal

Henry Burt
There were several moments of controversy during the final
There were several moments of controversy during the final / Stefan Matzke - sampics/GettyImages

Szymon Marciniak, the referee who officiated the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar, has hit back at claims that Argentina's third goal scored by Lionel Messi should have been disallowed.

Having thrown away a two-goal lead and allowed the game to go to extra time, La Albiceleste found themselves back in front after Messi struck from close range to score his second of the game.

While it was a moment of euphoria for the South Americans, French supporters were enraged, claiming the goal should not have stood as several of Argentina's substitutes were encroaching on the pitch when the goal was scored.

This would typically result in a goal being disallowed, as the only people allowed on the pitch during an active game are the 22 players and the match officials, but it seems Marciniak and his team did not notice.

However, Marciniak has hit back at criticism of his refereeing by pointing out that France were themselves guilty of the same infringement when Kylian Mbappe went on to make it 3-3 minutes later.

In an extraordinary press conference, the referee pulled up a picture of Mbappe's goal on his phone to demonstrate his point, telling reporters: "The French didn't mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappe scores a goal."

The nature of France's defeat in the final has caused consternation back home, with a petition to have the match replayed garnering over 200,000 signatures and counting.