The 2022 World Cup's third group stage match between Germany and Costa Rica on Thursday will feature a first in World Cup history.
FIFA announced an all-female officiating crew will oversee the game, led by French referee Stéphanie Frappart. She will be assisted by Neuza Back of Brazil and Mexico’s Karen Díaz Medina.
This Thursday, an all-female refereeing trio will take charge of a men’s @FIFAWorldCup match for the first time.
Stéphanie Frappart will be joined by assistants Neuza Back and Karen Diaz in overseeing @fedefutbolcrc against @DFB_Team.
History in the making! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/KusT7SOUn9
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 29, 2022
Costa Rica is currently right above Germany on the point table. All eyes will be on the matchup as both teams will fight to qualify for the knockout rounds.
The match's referee trio represents half of the six female referees FIFA named to their list of 36 for the tournament.
Thursday's match is a huge milestone for the men's World Cup. However, it's nothing new for Frappart, who created history on Tuesday as the fourth official in the goalless draw between Mexico and Poland.
On Thursday she'll become the first female referee to take charge of a men's World Cup game.
Stéphanie Frappart: Familiar with making history
Frappart became the first female referee to officiate a major men's European match when she was the lead referee of the UEFA Super Cup in 2019.
Her assistants then were also all women, Manuela Nicolosi from Italy and Michelle O'Neill of Ireland. Frappart received praise from fans and players for her officiating as Liverpool beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout.
She also officiated a men’s World Cup qualifier in March 2021, a men’s Champions League game in 2020 and multiple Lique 1 matches.
Before the World Cup began, Frappart said she hoped the inclusion of female referees in Qatar would "make things happen" for broader change. “It’s a strong sign from FIFA and the authorities to have women referees in that country,” she said.
"We're very happy" Pierluigi Collina, the FIFA referees committee chairman, said of Frappart, Back and Diaz.
"We clearly emphasize 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 FIFA World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that’s the important factor for us,” he concluded.