Former FIFA and the DStv Premiership referee, Victor Hlungwani has given his judgement over the controversial penalty taken by Messi in the FIFA World Cup final against France on Sunday.
Argentina was awarded a seemingly disputable penalty after Angel Di Maria appeared to have been fouled by Ousmane Dembele in the box. Referee on the day, Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot in the 22nd minute without consulting VAR.
Arguably the world’s best player ever, Lionel Messi converted from the spot to give Argentina an important early lead in the game. However, there were complaints from media and football pundits alike over the awarded penalty.
Nonetheless, Hlungwani, who officiated for over 30 years before he retired this year in June, has given his judgement, giving credit to the Polish referee.
“There was a contact by Dembele on Di Maria, that’s why Dembele never even complained because he knew what he had done was wrong,” Hlungwani told ThisIsFootball.Africa.
“He came from behind, and it was a good decision by the referee and no VAR was required as it was an easy decision to make.
“Any contact you do from behind is a tripping offense, and therefore a penalty should be awarded. And on that instance, we don’t expect a yellow card, correctly so because it was a careless foul.
“That was a correct decision by the referee, it was good officiating, and he was in a good position. All credit to the referee as he did very well.”
Messi’s side eventually won 4-2 on a penalty-shootout, after the match ended in a 3-3 draw after extra-time.