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Football Argentina's Pitana to ref World Cup opener

Argentina's Nestor Pitana will referee the opening World Cup match on Thursday when hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia, FIFA has announced.

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Argentina's Nestor Pitana will referee the opening match at the World Cup play

Argentina's Nestor Pitana will referee the opening match at the World Cup

(AFP)

Argentina's Nestor Pitana will referee the opening World Cup match on Thursday when hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia, FIFA has announced.

The 42-year-old, who officiated during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, will be in charge for the Group A match at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

The Argentine will be assisted by compatriots Juan Pablo Belatti and Hernan Maidana, with Sandro Ricci from Brazil designated as the fourth official.

With the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system making its World Cup debut, Italy's Massimiliano Irrati is the designated VAR official in Moscow.

VAR has been tested this season in both Germany's Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A but has been blighted by errors and confusing decisions.

"We are ready to give our best and show consistency but without the good attitude of players it will be very difficult for us," said FIFA's director of referees Massimo Busacca.

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