World Cup final referee Szymon Marciniak quit refereeing just MONTHS ago due to heart condition
WORLD CUP final ref Szymon Marciniak had to quit his role just months ago.
That’s after having a “very difficult time” with a shock heart condition diagnosis.
Polish official Marciniak will take charge of Sunday’s showdown between heavyweights France and Argentina after impressing Fifa chiefs.
He has already been deployed in matches featuring both sides, taking control France’s 2-1 group win over Denmark and Argentina’s 2-1 last-16 win over Australia.
But this weekend’s final represents a much bigger milestone for Marciniak, 41.
Last year he was told by doctors he was suffering from an illness called Tachycardia, the medical term for a heart rate over 100 beats a minute.
Marciniak was left “feeling terrible” as he was forced to miss Euro 2020 at his “best age.”
And he eventually stepped back from refereeing altogether before getting the green light for Qatar 2022.
Marciniak is now over the moon at coming back to take charge of world football’s biggest match.
But he knows he will have to be at the top of his game to make sure Lionel Messi’s showdown with Paris Saint-Germain pal Kylian Mbappe goes smoothly.
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Marciniak told Fifa: “Being the referee in a World Cup final… it’s unbelievable, to be honest. I’m very proud of myself and my team because, of course, it’s not only Szymon Marciniak, it’s a great team.
“I had a very difficult time for the last year and a half. I had Tachycardia – it’s a heart illness. In the beginning, it was very difficult for me and I had to stop refereeing.
“I missed the UEFA European Championship, which for a referee, who is at their best age, it was a terrible feeling. Only I, and my team, know how difficult of a time it was for me.
“Now, life gives back to me and I cannot even stop smiling because it’s a great feeling.”
On the quality of players he will be officiating, Marciniak added: “Both teams have such amazing players.
“They can do anything at any second, so that’s why we have to be focused from the first to the very last moment.
“We’ve seen and heard during the World Cup how fast the games are.
“I mean, the players are really very fresh; this is the middle of the season, not like it was before when it was the end of the season.
“Now the players are fresh, they want to win. You see the fire in the eyes of the players.
“We expect a very fast game; of course, this is the final, nobody wants to concede a goal, so I expect maybe at the beginning, being careful a little bit.
“But they have such big names, such big stars, everything can happen.
“So concentration, concentration, one more concentration. There cannot be any relaxing, even for one second. This is my task for the game.”