The FIFA World Cup will offer a unique approach to football competitions

Published on: November 10, 2022, 11:05 am.

Last updated: November 10, 2022, 11:33 am.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be historic for several reasons. Not only is it being held from November to December for the first time and not in the middle of the year as is usual, but it will also be the first World Cup where female referees will oversee a men’s football match.

Stephanie Frappart
French soccer referee Stephanie Frappart issued a yellow card on the pitch. She is one of three referees who will officiate this year’s World Cup matches. (Image: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

The three referees are Japanese Yoshimi Yamashita, French Stephanie Frappart and Rwandan Salima Mukansanga. They are among the 36 names chosen to officiate future World Cup matches.

No one is a stranger to whistling in football matches, and it is likely to follow the ongoing friendlies of the national team, which count down to the start of the World Cup on November 20.

FIFA breaks the mold

FIFA also named three female assistants out of 69 on the list – Brazil’s Neuza Back, USA’s Kathryn Nesbitt and Mexico’s Karen Díaz.

The three chosen referees have already had the opportunity to officiate the men’s matches and it is striking that their World Cup debut will take place in a Middle Eastern country. There, women usually do not have the same opportunities as men.

Fappart has refereed World Cup and Champions League qualifiers, in addition to officiating in the 2019 Women’s World Cup Final. More recently, she was on the cards in the 2022 Coupe de France Final.

Yamashita has worked men’s matches in the Japanese league and the Asian Champions League. In addition, she refereed several matches at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

For her part, Yamashita wants to make sure her role as a referee adds to, not detracts from, the excitement of soccer. She said in an interview: “More than control, I think about what needs to be done for the big goal of making football attractive.”

Mukansanga, meanwhile, made history last year in the Africa Cup of Nations. She was the first woman to officiate a match in the competition, doing so with an all-female team.

Friendlies give punters a taste

A number of national friendlies take place before the biggest day for football fans. There were four games on Wednesday, while Thursday brings two more. These games are a chance for some teams to continue their preparations while giving sports bettors a taste of what’s in store.

World Cup hosts Qatar had a slow game against Albania but won 1-0 after scoring from the penalty spot.

Cameroon drew against Jamaica on Wednesday despite being the favourites. Jamaica struck first with a second-period score, and Cameroon – a World Cup contender – needed almost the rest of regulation to settle matters.

Mexico had no problem eliminating Iraq. They won 4-0 in a game they controlled from the start after scoring in the first three minutes.

Costa Rica had a relatively easy match against Nigeria, winning 2-0. He scored in every period but will have to keep control during the World Cup. More than once, players have let their tempers get out of hand, and that could cost them.

A match on Thursday featured Saudi Arabia against Panama, which failed to qualify. The match, which was favored by Saudi Arabia, was fairly even, with Panama attacking first. Saudi Arabia responded and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Iraq and Nicaragua are still in the game, with Iran ahead, 1-0. There’s still plenty of time for Nicaragua, a major underdog going into this game, to work some magic, even if they’re not on their way to the World Cup.

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