Following four contentious games, the referees for the World Cup quarter-finals have faced harsh criticism.
First, Croatia shocked everyone on Friday by upsetting the odds-on favorite, Brazil. After a problematic 120 minutes, Argentina defeated the Netherlands in a shootout a few hours later.
The following day, Morocco defeated Portugal 1-0 to advance as the first African team to the semifinals. France, who conquered England in a close game, joined them.
The officials have been more at the center of the post-game controversy than the teams. The officials have received criticism for their actions in the four games.
Harry Maguire: Referee was poor
The England team and fans weren’t happy with the referee after France eliminated them.
Bukayo Saka was flagrantly fouled in the first case just before Aurelien Tchouameni scored the game’s first goal.
It makes sense that VAR did not overturn the goal because there was much time between the two incidences, and England had time to recover. But it is a complete mystery how the linesman missed it from only a few meters away.
A little while afterward, Dayot Upamecano took down Harry Kane. At first, no foul was called, but replays revealed a trip. It was only a matter of whether it was inside the box or outside, but once more, VAR showed no sign of giving in.
Jude Bellingham acknowledged that the referee’s performance was “not fantastic,” but he refused to attribute the loss to him.
Harry Maguire, a teammate, was less forgiving to the referee and gave a much harsher judgment.
“Bad, right from the start,” he stated. “In the first 15 minutes, there were five to six fouls, yet no one was sent off.”
“For me, Bukayo [Saka] was fouled for the opening goal. I’m at a loss for words regarding how awful his performance was.”
“But the critical decisions were wrong – he never offered us anything, so I don’t want to delve into it too much for fear of being penalized.”
Harry Maguire on the referee ? pic.twitter.com/frHq7EZmf2
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) December 11, 2022
Fernandes and Pepe fume at the referee after Morocco defeat
Morocco defeated Portugal in a close game to go to the final four, dashing Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup aspirations for good.
Teammates Bruno Fernandes and Pepe were there instead. Both argued that the competition might be rigged in favor of La Albiceleste and criticized the choice to assign an officiating crew virtually entirely Argentinian to oversee the game.
According to Fernandes, who The Express cited, “I don’t know whether they’re going to hand the cup to Argentina – I don’t care, I’m going to say what I think and f**k them.”
Similar ideas were expressed by Pepe when speaking with Relevo via The Express.
After what occurred the day before, which resulted in Messi protesting, he remarked that it was unacceptable that an Argentine referee was in control today. “They may now award Argentina the title, I am saying this after witnessing today.”
Bruno Fernandes: "I don't know if they're going to give the cup to Argentina. I don't care, I'm going to say what I think and screw them."
"It's very strange that a referee from a team that whistles us it's still in the Cup. They've clearly tilted the field against us." pic.twitter.com/maE1Vugn1F
— Barstool Football (@StoolFootball) December 10, 2022
Lionel Messi: Referee was not up to the task
A World Cup record of 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN) yellow cards were issued overall. Only 11 of these occurred during regular play. During the penalty shootout, Denzel Dumfries received two yellow cards.
Lahoz wasn’t up to the challenge, according to Messi, who declared as much after the game.
According to reports from Marca, the player said, “I don’t want to comment about the referee since you can’t be honest.”
“If you speak up, you get punished. FIFA needs to give this some thought; they cannot have a referee like that in certain situations.”
“You can’t bring in a referee who isn’t qualified. We were scared going into the game because we knew what to expect from him.”
Messi wasn't impressed with the referee tonight ? pic.twitter.com/vfTm3wMNYs
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 9, 2022
Former striker Sergio Aguero tweeted that the referee craved attention, while BBC’s Gary Lineker compared him to Premier League referee Mike Dean. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez called him “useless.”