REFEREE Szymon Marciniak has hit back at claims he should have chalked off Argentina’s third goal against France in the World Cup final.
French fans claimed Lionel Messi’s extra-time strike should have been disallowed as two Argentina substitutes appeared to be on the pitch before the ball went in.
French newspaper L’Equipe also questioned why the goal had been allowed to stand.
The headline “Why Argentina’s third goal shouldn’t have been awarded” was followed by suggestions the goal should not have stood because of the two players encroaching.
They argued that France should have been given a free-kick instead.
But Marciniak, 41, has now responded with damning evidence.
During a press conference the Polish official pulled out his phone and showed a picture of SEVEN French subs on the pitch as Kylian Mbappe scored one of his three goals.
According to journalist Zach Lowry, Marciniak claimed the photo was taken as Mbappe found the back of the net.
And he said: “The French didn’t mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappe scores a goal.”
It is not clear which of Mbappe’s three World Cup goals Marciniak was referring too.
Most read in Football
But his claims suggest if Messi’s goal should have been disallowed, then Mbappe should have received the same treatment.
Mbappe scored two quick-fire goals in normal time after Messi and Angel Di Maria had put Argentina ahead.
Messi restored Argentina’s lead in extra-time, before Mbappe netted his hat-trick from the spot to send the game to penalties.
While Messi’s extra-time strike caused controversy, other fans were convinced Mbappe’s hat-trick goal should not have stood due to a handball in the build up.
The ball appeared to strike Dayot Upamecano on the arm before Argentina defender Gonzalo Montiel was penalised for a handball.
Mbappe converted the resulting spot-kick to send a thrilling final to penalties, although Argentina prevailed in the shootout.