Daily Sports Smile: Referee makes history at 2022 Euro Cup final after fleeing Ukraine
The England women's national team was the buzz of the soccer world Sunday when they won the European Cup final, the nation's first major trophy since 1966. But a member of the officiating crew also accomplished something special.
Kateryna Monzul made history Sunday as the first official from Ukraine to referee a women's Euro Cup final. The match official, who fled her home country of Ukraine during Russia's ongoing invasion, led the two teams out before a record home crowd at Wembley Stadium in London.
Monzul, 41, had been living in Kharkiv when the Russia invaded in February. She hid underground at her parents' house for five days with her sisters and their children, according to Sky Sports. She travelled to the neighboring country of Moldova and across Europe before resuming her refereeing career in Italy.
Monzul, who has worked as an international referee since 2004, told Sky Sports before the match that her "heart was already beating fast" and the moment was a dream come true.
English defeated Germany 2-1 in the final. Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly scored the deciding goal in extra time in the 110th minute.
Monzul has made history before. In 2016, she was the first woman to referee matches in the Ukraine men's Premier League.
In October 2021, Monzul became the first woman to officiate an England men's game, doing so for their World Cup qualifier against Andorra. She also refereed men's matches in the Europa League, Europa Conference League and Nations League.
The veteran referee has World Cup experience as well. Monzul has officiated three Women's World Cups, including the United States' 5-2 final victory over Japan in 2015.