In a bitter reaction to Portugal’s World Cup exit, Pepe slams the referee. Pepe, a Portuguese defender, has vehemently criticized FIFA for choosing an Argentine referee following Portugal’s shocking World Cup quarterfinal loss to Morocco.
The biggest underdogs in the tournament defeated Pepe’s team 1-0 on Saturday, securing a historic semifinal matchup with either England or France and leaving Cristiano Ronaldo inconsolable. But unlike the former Manchester United superstar, Pepe spoke to the media after the game to express his displeasure with FIFA and Argentine official Facundo Tello instead of pouting down the tunnel to wallow in the dressing room.
The former Real Madrid center-back yelled at the referee, “It’s unacceptable for an Argentine referee to referee our game,” according to Record. “Following yesterday, the referee arrives here to blow the whistle while [Lionel] Messi and Argentina are speaking. I’m not saying he comes here already trained.
However, how did we play in the second half? ” The keeper of the net fell to the ground. Only eight minutes were allotted for the stoppage. We put in a lot of effort, and the referee gave us eight minutes [of additional time]. In the second half, we didn’t play any games. We were the only football team playing. We’re down. We had the talent to win the World Cup but could not. I’ll lay a wager that Argentina will win.
“The referee asked the goalkeeper twice to get the ball into play as soon as possible, which was a massive waste of time. We worked hard, stayed true to who we were, and always tried to play our game. I’m pleased with that. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to prevail. Very depressing, depressing feeling ” 90 minutes during which Morocco consistently attempted to end our game with minor fouls.
Because the referee was disinterested and failed to issue a warning, the game continued. We tried to play; however, when the ball was put on the ground, they recovered it by kicking it forward and trying to win the next ball. After that, they rejoiced in their goal.
Pepe’s accusations of bias against Argentina come after they narrowly advanced to the semifinals on Friday, defeating the Netherlands on penalties. Despite Messi and Leandro Paredes being fortunate to escape being sent off, many Argentina players criticized Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz for his strange decisions during the match.
Pepe admitted that he missed a contentious incident involving teammate Bruno Fernandes going down inside Morocco’s box toward the end of the first half in a separate interview after Portugal’s shocking loss. A large portion of his team appealed for a penalty, but the 39-year-old said, “I didn’t see the thing that could have been Bruno’s penalty,” according to RTP3 via A Bola.
“We were capable of winning this World Cup. The arrogance of the arbitration team then struck us as being present. The winner will be Argentina! There were five referees from Argentina! What else is there to say? Let’s wait and see.”
Pepe’s sentiment was echoed by Fernandes, who said: “It’s extremely odd to have a referee who doesn’t have a Portuguese national team competing while his national team is still active. Since they oversee the Champions League, ours are qualified and experienced enough to be present. The referees from Argentina do not work in the Champions League; they are not accustomed to these types of matches and have not developed for this. It tipped the playing field.”