Refereeing decisions largely went France’s way in their World Cup quarter-final win over England, yet the controversial official in charge could be rewarded with an appearance in the final
The referee that officiated England’s World Cup quarter-final exit to France on Saturday could still be picked to take charge of the final.
Brazilian Wilton Sampaio was awarded the privilege of refereeing the Three Lions’ clash with Les Bleus. By all accounts, he made a hash of the occasion with continuously baffling calls which proved costly for Gareth Southgate and his World Cup ambitions.
Yet despite the backlash, Sampaio has been kept on in Qatar by FIFA and could referee Sunday’s final due to Brazil no longer being involved in the competition.
Sampaio made a number of dubious calls throughout Saturday’s clash which went against England. He most notably failed to award a free-kick for a foul on Bukayo Saka by Dayot Upamecano in the build-up to France’s opener, before missing Upamecano’s tripping-up of Harry Kane on the edge of the box.
He then missed Theo Hernandez’s push on Mason Mount in the second-half, which was finally corrected with help from VAR. And defender Harry Maguire did not mince his words when giving his assessment of Sampaio’s officiating after England’s elimination.
He said: “Big decisions went against us, a lot of decisions went against us, should I say. I think the referee’s decision-making throughout the game was really poor.
“We always stand here and as players we get criticised – so it would be nice to see if he comes out and says whether he’s had a good game or not.
“Because there were so many decisions in that first half where they made five, six early fouls. I think H [Harry Kane] was outside the box but it was a clear foul, he didn’t in the second half, Bukayo’s [Saka] is a clear foul leading up to their first goal.”
Englishman Michael Oliver was also among the host of referees to be sent home, while his FA colleague Anthony Taylor is still among contention. Argentina vs Netherlands’ hugely controversial official Mateu Lahoz has also been sent home.