Argentina’s Nestor Pitana has been assigned as the referee for the Opening Match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday 12 June at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The Argentine officiated the semi final match Nigeria lost to Germany at the men’s football event of the Olympic Games in Sao Paolo, Brazil two years ago.
Samson Siasia and his wards eventually won the bronze in the Third Place match which turned out Nigeria’s only medal from the Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Pitana is to be assisted by compatriots Juan Pablo Bellati and Hernan Maidana, with Sandro Ricci from Brazil designated as the fourth official.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) team is made up of the following referees; Massimiliano Irrati of Italy (VAR); Mauro Vigliano of Argentina (AVR 1); Carlos Astroza of Chile (AVR2) and Daniele Orsato, Italy (AVR3).
Pitana is set to become the second Argentine referee to participate in two World Cups after Norberto Coerezza, who oversaw two games in 1970 and one in 1978. Pitana is one of South America’s most experienced referees.
He made his debut in the Argentinian league in 2007 and officiated his first international match in 2010. At the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, he oversaw four fixtures including France-Germany in the quarterfinals.
Apart from the Nigeria versus Germany clash in Sao Paolo, in 2017, Pitana was involved in another semi-final, in the FIFA Confederations Cup between Germany and Mexico.