Gary Neville fumes at ‘joke of a referee’ after England World Cup exit

Gary Neville fumes at 'joke of a referee' after England World Cup exit

Wilton Sampaio was dubbed “a farce of a referee” by Gary Neville after a series of crucial decisions were made against England during their 2-1 World Cup quarterfinal loss to France on Saturday.

With goals from Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud, the Three Lions were eliminated from the competition, although more focus was placed on referee Sampaio’s performance than on the actual game.

After watching replays that appeared to show Dayot Upamecano had caught Bukayo Saka and not won the ball cleanly, the Brazilian referee decided not to give Harry Kane a penalty after the Bayern Munich defender made contact with him. This decision was made before Tchouameni’s opening goal for France.

Although replays again showed that the England captain had been carelessly shoved to the ground, VAR concurred and did not order Sampaio to reconsider the judgment.

Nine minutes into the second half, Tchouameni committed a blatant foul, and Saka was then given a penalty. Mason Mount was then thrashed to the ground by Theo Hernandez as the game entered its dying minutes.

Amazingly, Sampaio didn’t consider the push to Mount’s back to being a foul and felt there wasn’t any need for further punishment. VAR disagreed with Sampaio on this occasion, and Sampaio reversed his judgment after glancing at the pitchside monitor.

On ITV’s broadcast of the match, Gary Neville harshly evaluated Sampaio’s performance based on these and other choices, saying, “He had an utter nightmare. He blasted the referee as “a joke.”

He’s simply a lousy referee, a rank rotten one. I’m not saying it was entirely because England lost; people would think that’s making excuses.

“Choosing is straightforward. Neville commented on the alleged penalty on Saka that ultimately resulted in France’s opening goal. “He kicks his leg away – I’m not sure why it isn’t a foul,” he said.

“He bit him. Then he kicked him. A free kick ought to be given. Upamecano attempted to win the ball on three or four instances but was unsuccessful (on Saka and Kane).

In their post-game media interviews, Sampaio’s teammates from England, Harry Maguire and Jude Bellingham expressed their displeasure with his performance.

According to Maguire, the referee’s judgment tonight “was terrible.” It would be interesting to watch whether he comes out to comment on his performance.

“We played the game as the superior team. In my opinion, we controlled the game for a significant portion of it if someone watching was impartial. A large number of choices, I might say, went against us.

If I’m being sincere, not fantastic, Bellingham said ITV. Both players and officials have the potential to play poorly. I believe that in terms of level for a game like this, he wasn’t where he should have been today.

“But there are other reasons why we lost; I’m not blaming him entirely; we were the ones who played the game, but certainly, I don’t believe he was at the level tonight. We were lethal at set pieces in the first half, and I believe any one of those fouls might have made the difference.