Experienced Argentine official Nestor Pitana will referee the World Cup final between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, an uncontroversial decision which rewards his authoritative performances in Russia.
The 43-year-old also took charge of the opening match of the tournament between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia at the same stadium and becomes the second Argentine to referee the biggest game in football after Horacio Elizondo in 2006.
Pitana officiated at four matches at the last World Cup in Brazil and the final will be his fifth match at this tournament with his previous outings including the quarter-final between France and Uruguay.
I was very glad to see that he will be refereeing. We had the luck to see him perform in the game against Denmark. Not only did we win the game but he had a perfect attitude. His linesmen were also fantastic.
Pitana, who also officiated the Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark, will be assisted on the touchlines by compatriots Hernan Maidana and Juan Pablo Belatti.
“I was very glad to see that he will be refereeing. We had the luck to see him perform in the game against Denmark. Not only did we win the game but he had a perfect attitude. His linesmen were also fantastic,” Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic said of Pitana.
Italian Massimiliano Irrati will be the first Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to officiate at a World Cup final.
Pitana, who has been an international referee since 2010 is one of South America’s most experienced referees.
He refereed three games an the U-17 World Cup in 2013 before being called up the following year to officiate at the World Cup in Brazil, where Pitana supervised four fixtures, including France v Germany in the quarter-finals.
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