Portugal duo Bruno Fernandes and Pepe have questioned why FIFA allowed an Argentine referee to officiate their World Cup quarter-final against Morocco.
Fernando Santos’ side were the latest team to be on the wrong end of an upset with Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half header sending the African nation through to the semi-finals.
It was a historic victory for Morocco, who became the first African country to reach the last four of a World Cup.
They thoroughly deserved the victory as they produced another scalp after topping a group with Croatia and Belgium in it, before beating Spain on penalties in the last 16.
Anyway, less about the brilliance of Morocco, and more about the bitterness of Portugal.
Argentine referee Facundo Tello officiated the match between Portugal and Morocco, and has come under fire from Pepe and Fernandes.
After the fiery game which saw 17 yellow cards between Argentina and the Netherlands, Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was heavily criticised by Lionel Messi and Emi Martinez.
And with Argentina advancing to the semis and now the favourites to win the whole thing, Fernandes has said it was “very strange” to see an Argentine officiate their game.
“I don’t know if they are going to give the cup to Argentina,” Fernandes said.
“I’m going to say what I think. It’s very strange that a referee from a team that is still in the World Cup is in charge.”
Defender Pepe was less than impressed with the referee after Portugal crashed out and Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears in what will probably be his last World Cup finals.
Pepe spat the dummy out and has said FIFA would be as well ‘giving the title to Argentina now’.
He said: “It is unacceptable that an Argentine referee administered the game today after what happened yesterday.
“With Messi complaining and Argentina talking. I’m not saying it’s conditional, but what did we play in the second half? Anything.
“Their goalkeeper was always stopped, only added eight minutes of injury time
“After what I saw today, they can now give the title to Argentina.”
Bernardo Silva was obviously upset to lose, but knows his side didn’t do enough to merit a place in the last four.
“It was a really tough game, against a competitive, aggressive team,” Silva said.
“It’s a feeling of disappointment, sadness. Our spirit was great, we felt we could make the semi-finals. I apologise to the Portuguese people. Morocco are in the semis because they deserve it.”
Manager Santos’ future is now in doubt after the 2016 European Championship winners were knocked out by Morocco. His current contract expires in 2024.
When asked if he will continue, Santos replied: “We’ll talk about it.
“We took a long time to get into the game, the first half especially, we couldn’t get our game going, although we had a few chances, but the players worked hard.
“Does it hurt more vs Morocco? It hurts going out of the World Cup, no matter who the opposition.”