Nestor Pitana, a former actor from Argentina will follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Horacio Elizondo (in 2006) to officiate Sunday’s World Cup final match between France and Croatia.
For the second time in four editions, world’s football governing body FIFA have named the centre referee for the opening game of the quadrennial FIFA World Cup tournament as the arbiter for the final game.
The 43-year old handled the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia opening match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14, at the Luzhniki Stadium, same venue for Sunday’s final.
Just like Elizondo in 2006 who officiated a six-goal thriller between Germany and Costa Rica in the opening game, Pitana will also preside over an all-European final which involves France.
Interestingly, games involving Sunday’s finalists; France and Croatia were among the four games which Pitana has officiated in this year’s tournament in Russia.
He was in charge of France’s convincing quarter final victory over Uruguay at Nizhny-Novgorod, and that was after he had handled Croatia’s penalty shoot-out victory against Denmark in the round of sixteen at the same stadium.
Pitana will be assisted in the final by his usual assistants Hernan Maidana and Juan Pablo Belatti both also from Argentina. The Netherlands respected referee Bjorn Kuipers will be the fourth official for the game.
Sunday’s final will kick off at 6pm local time (4pm in Nigeria) at the 81,000 seater stadium in the Russian capital, Moscow.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Moscow.