Switzerland - Republic of Ireland, Szymon Marciniak

Crucial match for both nations in Geneva, where this game was played under bad conditions (I dare to say that some parts of the pitch looked like a battlefield before kick-off). It was Szymon Marciniak, Poland’s Elite Group referee, who was given this huge task, which I thought he solved quite well.

A couple of key-match incidents must be rewatched more closely:

=> Penalty appeal SUI for handball (36’): after a corner, IRL6 gets the ball on his right arm, which is outstretched. Natural instinct would be penalty. Marciniak decided to play-on. If we look closer at the replays, one can see that the ball is deviated by the chest of IRL6. According to Law 12, this is NOT PUNISHABLE, since the ball is coming “directly from the player’s own head or body”. Difficult decision, but rewatching the replays, I think NO PENALTY is the correct call.

=> Penalty to SUI for handball (76’): no replays were provided by the broadcaster during the game, but live it looked like a clear handball by IRL2, who blocked a shot on goal and who correctly was sent off on a 2YC (having been booked for a confrontation in the first half). Marciniak was very alert in that situation, well done.

=> Potential advantage before 2-0 (90+3’): Irish defender pulls the shirt of Swiss attacker (which normally should be whistled and punished with a YC), Marciniak lets play continue, ending in the Swiss scoring their second goal. While Marciniak does not make the advantage signal (did he simply forget it?), he was close to the situation and I do believe he saw it and assessed it and decided to continue play: in that case, I have to praise the Pole for his EXCELLENT reading of the situation, well well done!

Foul detection and disciplinary action was pretty good in the entire game:

=> In total 6 YC (32 - 2 for confrontation, 33’ - illegal use of arms, 47’ - reckless/SPA, 55’ - SPA, 66’ - reckless/illegal use of arms) have been issued in this match and 1 2YC (as mentioned before).

=> Good management of the confrontation in 32’ between SUI10 and IRL2, Marciniak tried to separate both players and I had the feeling that he wanted to solve this without cards. As neither of both players were interested in stopping, Marciniak decided (correctly) to caution both players here. Good decision!

=> Only minor factor would be a possible missed 2YC to IRL13 in for a what could have been assessed as a reckless stamp (71’).

Both assistant referees executed their duties on expected level, the cooperation between them and the referees was impeccable throughout the entire game.

In this conclusion, I repeat what I already said yesterday: Szymon Marciniak is back! Yesterday, I saw the motivated, alert and self-confident referee that has impressed previously in matches like ROM-POR, PSG-BAR or IRL-DEN and no longer the one from matches like TOT-JUV, PSG-LIV or BAR-LYO. Having performed already performed well in BRU-LIN and GAL-PSG this season (where it was reported that the “old Marciniak” returned partly), I think SUI-IRL is the confirmation that he’s fully back to his capacities. I hope he can continue to perform like this, because this is the type of referee who can handle very big clashes, up to a Champions League Final in the near future! I wish him and his team all the best!

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