Harry Maguire, Gary Neville rip into ‘joke’ referee who had an ‘absolute nightmare’ in England World Cup exit
Following England's 2-1 World Cup elimination at the hands of France on Saturday evening, Harry Maguire and Gary Neville both took aim at Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio.
The Three Lions were dissatisfied with Sampaio’s choices throughout the quarter-final match, particularly a pivotal incident in the build-up to France’s first goal when Bukayo Saka appeared to be fouled before Aurelien Tchouameni’s magnificent long-range effort.
Sampaio then failed to give England a clear penalty for Theo Hernandez’s shove on Mason Mount, which, although occurring right in front of him, required the assistance of VAR.
Maguire claimed after England’s World Cup exit that no major decisions went in England’s favor and that the Brazilian officials’ decision-making was really awful.’
Maguire told beIN Sports, “We’re hurt in there, genuinely disappointed.” Listen, we were unquestionably the better team in the game.
“I believe anyone watching who is neutral will agree that we dominated the game for long stretches.”
“Big decisions went against us, or should I say a lot of decisions went against us.”
“We fought, we kept going, we kept pushing, we produced chance after chance, and they’ve been clinical in two moments, and that’s why they’re world champions, and I’d say that’s why they’re tournament favorites.”
The referee played a role in England’s humiliating defeat.
“I believe the referee’s decision-making was quite terrible throughout the game.”
“We constantly stand here, and as players, we get criticized, so it’ll be interesting to see whether he comes out and says whether or not he had a good game.”
“Because they made five or six early fouls in that first half.”
“I believe H [Harry Kane] was beyond the area, but it was a clear foul; he didn’t do it in the second half, and Bukayo’s is a blatant foul leading up to their first goal.”
“Huge moments, big decisions, you expect some to be right, but tonight we didn’t get any.”
In an interview with ITV following the game, Neville referred to Sampaio as a “joke” as he pondered on the painful loss.
“The French defense’s loss of poise throughout the evening was stunning,” Neville remarked.
“We understood it was the team’s weak point, but we had no idea how many bad judgments they would make in those areas.”
“I think the referee had an awful nightmare, he was a joke of a referee, him.”
“I’m not suggesting it was entirely because of England’s defeat; I think it simply excuses; he was just a bad referee, rank bad.”