All-female referee team set to make World Cup history in Germany's game against Costa Rica

Stephanie Frappart World Cup 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An all-female refereeing team will take charge of a men's World Cup game for the first time in the tournament's history when Germany face Costa Rica in their Group E decider on Thursday. 

Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart is the on-field referee for the game, making her the first woman ever to referee at a men's World Cup. She appeared earlier in the tournament as a fourth official for Mexico's goalless draw against Poland. 

This isn't the first time that Frappart has broken records, though. She became the first woman to officiate men's Ligue 1 and Champions League games, as well as a World Cup qualification fixture between the Netherlands and Latvia in 2021.

Brazilian Neuza Back, Mexican Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt are set to be Frappart's assistant referees for the game at Al Bayt Stadium. 

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Before the tournament, Frappart said: "We know the pressure. But I think we will not change ourselves. Be calm, focused, concentrate, and don't think too much about the media and everything, just be focused on the field.

"It’s a strong sign from FIFA and the authorities to have women referees in that country."

Three female referees have been included on FIFA's 36-person roster for the tournament, with Rwanda's Salima Mukansanga and Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita still waiting to take charge of their first game at the World Cup. 

After their appointments by FIFA, Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, said: “We are very happy that with Stéphanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan, as well as assistant referees Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina from Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA, we have been able to call up female match officials for the first time in the history of a FIFA World Cup. 

"This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments. In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational. 

"They deserve to be at the World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that’s the important factor for us."

Germany need to win against Costa Rica to stand a chance of qualifying for the last-16 of World Cup 2022 - anything else any they will be eliminated. They currently have just one point in Group E, two points fewer than both Japan and Costa Rica, with Spain currently topping the group with four points. 

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