Wilton Sampaio: Referee criticised for display in England vs France
The last quarter final at the 2022 World Cup provided incredible drama as France triumphed over England on Saturday night.
Aurelien Tchouameni's strike from distance put France 1-0 up early on but the match was decidedly even and England drew level from the penalty spot through Harry Kane when Bukayo Saka was brought down.
Olivier Giroud headed in what proved to be the winner but Kane had the opportunity to square the game and take it to extra time. However, his shot cleared Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris' bar and Les Bleus held on for a 2-1 win.
The Three Lions had the chances to at least draw the game but another figure came in for criticism throughout; referee Wilton Sampaio.
A few contentious calls drew criticism from the England faithful, who pointed to a foul on Saka in the build-up to Tchouameni's goal. Kane had a penalty appeal waved away for a collision with Dayot Upamecano.
Mason Mount's appeal was originally waved away before VAR consultation saw a penalty awarded.
Gary Neville commented: "The referee, I thought he had an absolute nightmare. He was a joke of a referee, him.
"I'm not saying it was all down to him and people will think it's excuses but he was just a bad referee. Rank, bad."
Stuart Pearce agreed, saying on talkSPORT: “This referee is having an awful game, a really really awful game. That’s a blatant penalty.
“If you can’t see that first time round there’s something wrong at the World Cup at the highest level.”
A fair few people on social media agreed, too.
The refereeing display comes after a similarly chaotic encounter between Argentina and the Netherlands. The players in that game were much more volatile but Antonio Mateu Lahoz still handed out over a dozen cautions and sent off Denzel Dumfries after the game had finished.
An instantly iconic picture of Argentina players celebrating their shootout victory in the faces of their Dutch opposition went viral, though FIFA have since confirmed they are under investigation for their involvement in the aggressive full-time scenes.