Female referee makes World Cup history. Some 92 years after the first World Cup game was held in Uruguay, Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to be the lead referee during a men's match at the tournament.

Frappart, a French referee, led a refereeing crew of all women during a decisive group stage game between Costa Rica and Germany.

Frappart, 38, worked with the assistant referee Neuza Back of Brazil and Karen Diaz of Medina of Mexico. It was a barrier-breaking moment that both coaches welcomed and suggested was overdue.

''I trust her 100 percent,'' Germany's manager, Hansi Flick, said of Frappart's appointment. ''I think she deserves to be here due to her performance and achievements.''

Costa Rica's manager, Luis Fernando Suarez, said the same during his pre-match news conference.

''I am a great admirer of everything women have conquered,'' he said. ''And I like that they want to keep conquering things. And this is another step forward, especially in this sport, which is a very macho.''

Frappart told French reporters that she considered her selection as lead referee ''a surprise.'' Still, she has had a stellar career for nearly two decades. A native of Le Plessis-Bouchard, north of Paris, she officiated her first game in 2003 at age 19 in the top tier of women's soccer in France. Within two decades, she was overseeing a Women's World Cup final.

Since then, she climbed the ladder, racking up accolades. In 2014, she became the first woman to be lead referee during a men's game in France's second division. She then refereed games in men's Ligue 1, during international friendlies and in the Champions league.

On Aug. 14, 2019, Frappart also became the first woman to referee the UEFA Super Cup between Chelsea and Liverpool. After the game, Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool coach, praised her performance.

Frappart also refereed the Women's World Cup final in 2019, when the United States beat the Netherlands.

Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of the FIFA referee committee who is known for being tough on colleagues, has high praise for Frappart. ''I hope that there will be more Frapparts in the future and this will no longer constitute an oddity or news story,'' Collina told Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper, in 2021.

Frappart told French reporters that she was ''aware'' that her presence in the tournament is ''going to inspire.'' But she would prefer to let her whistle do the talking.

''I don't want to be judged differently because of my gender but because of my refereeing skills,'' she said.

The World Students Society thanks author Tom Nouvian.


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