Over 200,000 people have signed a petition by French fans calling for a World Cup replay between Argentina and France.
Argentina supporters have launched a “France stop crying” counter-petition to call on French fans to accept defeat following calls to have the Qatar World Cup final match between Argentina and France replayed.
The match, which dragged the reigning champions back into the final with a 90-second second-half double, ended with Argentina defeating France 4-2 on penalties after a riveting 3-3 tie and lifting their third World Cup trophy.
Shortly after, French fans launched a petition to protest referee Szymon Marciniak, who has come under attack over his officiating during the final game.
Pundits and journalists in France claimed Lionel Messi’s third goal for Argentina in last Sunday’s World Cup final should have been ruled out after replays showed there were more than 11 La Albiceleste players on the field.
Referee Marciniak addressed the recent accusations during a press conference in Poland, pointing out that French players were also on the field when Mbappe scored one of the goals.
“The French have not said anything about these photos, where you can see that there were seven French players on the field before Mbappe scored,” the 41-year-old told Polish media while whipping out his phone to show a picture of the incident.
“The game was never affected. How much impact did the players who came onto the field have? It’s looking for little things. This is not a serious business,” he added.
The referee also stated that although the French press and fans might be upset with him, the players were happy with his decisions.
“The French thanked me after the game and were satisfied with our performance,” he said. “Everyone came up to us and shook our hands.”
Alongside the controversy over Argentina’s third goal, French fans also claimed that a foul should have been awarded to French player Kylian Mbappe in the build-up to Argentina’s second goal. They also say Argentina’s first goal, a penalty by Lionel Messi, should not have stood.
Marciniak admitted there were a few things he would’ve done differently at the Lusail Stadium, including letting a particular France counter-attack continue. However, he expressed his delight about making no critical mistakes during the historic encounter despite the difficulty of officiating a game of that magnitude to perfection.
“I interrupted the French counter-attack after a bad tackle by Marcos Acuna,” he told Sport.PL.
“It’s hard. In a game like this, I take such a mistake in the dark. The important thing is that there were no big mistakes.”
Marciniak is the first Polish referee to officiate in a FIFA World Cup final. He came as the replacement after the English referee Anthoney Taylor was barred from officiating the match over concerns of bias.
Argentina fans also launched a counter-petition following France’s complaints.
The “France stop crying” petition was launched by a fan named Valentin Gomez. Within a few hours, it reportedly had more than 65,000 signatures, Goal reported.
“Ever since we won the World Cup final, the French have not stopped crying, complaining and not accepting that Argentina is world champion,” Gomez wrote. “This petition aims for the French to stop crying and accept that Messi is the best player in history and has Mbappe as his son.”
Mbappe finished the World Cup with eight goals after scoring a hat-trick in the final, including two penalties. Messi, who scored seven goals in total, was named the player of the tournament.
The French Football Federation submitted an official complaint over the Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez consistently taunting Kylian Mbappe.
Martinez first called for “a moment’s silence” for Mbappe during dressing room celebrations after the game concluded at Lusail Stadium in Qatar, before doing the the same thing upon the team’s return to Argentina during their victory parade.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper was also spotted carrying a doll with Mbappe’s face taped to it during the parade in Buenos Aires, despite standing next to the Frenchman’s teammate at Paris St-Germain, Lionel Messi.
The President of the French FA Noel Le Graet has penned a letter of complaint stating that, “This is going too far. Mbappé’s behaviour has been exemplary.”
“I wrote to my counterpart from the Argentine Federation,” he told Ouest-France. “I find these excesses abnormal, in the context of a sports competition, and I find it difficult to understand.
Les Bleus’ defeat to Argentina in the 2022 World Cup final ended their bid to become only the fourth country to win the World Cup three times, an achievement Argentina can now claim.