World Cup: Former referee reveals huge mistake during England v France | Football
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher admits World Cup official Wilton Pereira Sampaio ‘did not perform to the level you would expect’ during England’s quarter-final defeat to France.
England’s bid to win their first World Cup since 1966 was ended on Saturday night as defending champions France clinched a 2-1 win at the Al Bayt Stadium.
France took the lead on 17 minutes through Aurelien Tchouameni after they were allowed to break despite Bukayo Saka appearing to be fouled.
England levelled after the break – Harry Kane equalling Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53 goals with an emphatic penalty – but former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud put France back in front with 12 minutes remaining.
It appeared as though the quarter-final tie would go to extra-time as England were awarded a late penalty, but the usually reliable Kane blazed his effort over.
England’s players were visibly frustrated with referee Sampaio during the match and have since slammed his performance, describing it as ‘a joke’.
Ex-referee Gallagher agrees that Sampaio ‘didn’t produce on the day’ and says not awarding England a free-kick for the foul on Saka prior to France’s opener was an obvious mistake.
‘I think it’s a foul. I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s a foul, you can see it’s a foul,’ Gallagher told Sky Sports.
‘If the referee doesn’t see it, the assistant has a perfect view, he’s looking straight at it and is very, very close. If the assistant flagged, everyone would have accepted that decision.
‘Then the problem is there’s 25 seconds between the incident and the France goal. As we know in the Premier League, VAR would never go back that far. That’s not what VAR is there for.’
On the referee’s performance as a whole, Gallagher added: ‘Whether he was nervous or the occasion got to him, he [Sampaio] certainly didn’t perform how you would expect a ref at that level to perform.
‘It wasn’t the level of a referee in a World Cup quarter-final. You can’t say he wasn’t at that level but I would say he didn’t produce on the day.
‘During the 90 minutes, he didn’t reflect that level. The problems emanated from decisions he didn’t make rather than ones he did make.’
England defender Harry Maguire was among those to slam the referee after the Three Lions were sent home by France.
‘We’re hurt in there, really disappointed. Listen, we were the better team in the game for sure,’ the Manchester United star told beIN SPORTS.
‘I think anyone watching who’s neutral will say we dominated the game for large periods. Big decisions went against us, a lot of decisions went against us, should I say.
‘We fought, we kept going, kept pushing, we created chance after chance and they’ve been clinical in two moments and that’s why they’re the world champions, and I’ll probably say that’s why they’re favourites for the tournament.
‘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 is a clear foul leading up to their first goal.
‘Big moments, big decisions, you expect to get some right but unfortunately tonight we didn’t get any.’
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