RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Nicola Rizzoli of Italy will referee the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.
With a European and South American team playing, many had expected FIFA to appoint an Asian referee for Sunday's game. But Rizzoli got the call to work his third Argentina match at this year's World Cup.
"It is unbelievable for me," Rizzoli said in a video interview released Friday by FIFA. "I represent Italy in this moment. I want to be one of the best for sure, and I will."
He is the second Italian to referee the final in the past four World Cups. Pierluigi Collina refereed when Germany lost to Brazil 2-0 in the 2002 final in Yokohama, Japan.
Now head of UEFA refereeing, Collina has been a strong supporter of his compatriot's career.
Rizzoli was the referee for the all-German Champions League final in 2013, when Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in London.
FIFA refereeing committee chairman Jim Boyce said earlier Friday that Rizzoli would get the duty.
"We choose the best referees for the best matches, and the Italian will referee the final," Boyce said.
Rizzoli has already worked three matches at this year's World Cup, including Argentina's quarterfinal victory over Belgium and a group win over Nigeria. He also handled the high-profile match between the Netherlands and Spain on the second day of the tournament.