American referee Tori Penso was picked by FIFA on Friday for the Women’s World Cup final (Sunday at 6 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) between Spain and England to complete a rare double after also working one of the semifinals.
Penso will return Sunday to Stadium Australia in Sydney, where she refereed England’s 3-1 win Wednesday over co-host nation Australia.
“We know that it came across quite unexpectedly, her appointment, because she was appointed for the semifinal,” said FIFA referees boss Pierluigi Collina, “but we are fully convinced that the best has to be the referee for the final, and she was the best.”
Penso’s team for the final includes assistants running the touchlines, Brooke Mayo and Kathryn Nesbitt. Nesbitt also worked at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar last year.
Their selection was revealed on a jersey by Collina in a meeting of all the remaining match officials who are working in Australia and New Zealand.
“When he flipped that over to showcase my name, I melted,” Penso said in an interview published by FIFA. “I didn’t even know how I reacted to be honest. Tears of joy, for sure, but I was just overwhelmed with emotion.”
Penso has officiated men’s games in Major League Soccer since 2020 — the first woman to do so in 20 years. Her husband, Chris, also has been an MLS referee on the FIFA list for international games. They have three daughters.
Penso’s path to the Women’s World Cup final opened after the two-time defending champion United States was eliminated in the round of 16 by Sweden.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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