Polish referee Karolina Radzik-Johan will end her first final tournament by officiating Saturday's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship showpiece but her one hope is that she will go unnoticed.
In a pre-tournament interview Radzik-Johan said she was speechless after merely being selected for the 16-strong party of officials in Skopje. Three weeks later, though, and after impressing in the middle in two Group B matches, she is preparing for her biggest stage yet: taking the whistle as France aim to wrest the title from holders England. "I'm very, very happy," said the 29-year-old, now in her tenth season as a referee. "It's a big surprise because it's my first final tournament. There are lots of emotions."
Radzik-Johan will lead a refereeing team including assistants Petruta Iugulescu (Romania) and Monica Løkkeberg (Norway), as well as fourth official Rhona Daly (Republic of Ireland). After spending much of the last two weeks in their company she considers them friends, but knows the value of having time to herself on Saturday. "After breakfast me and the team will have a meeting but then we focus on rest," said Radzik-Johan, a referee for the fourth tier of Polish men's football since 2007. "I will keep to myself on the morning of the game, listen to my music, stay relaxed.
"I'm already thinking only about the game. It's very hot here but I have to be tough - there are two teams and they are more important. I am ready and hope everything will go OK, that nobody will really notice me, that nobody will find reason to speak about the referee."
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