‘He wanted them to score’: Emi Martinez slams ‘useless’ Netherlands vs Argentina referee

The Aston Villa goalkeeper has hit out at the Spanish official, who handed out 16 yellow cards in the World Cup quarter-final

Jack Rathborn
Friday 09 December 2022 23:05 GMT
Messi leads Argentina training as quarter-finals loom

Emi Martinez insists referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz “wanted the Netherlands to score” in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

The Albiceleste prevailed 4-3 on penalties at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar after a thrilling 2-2 draw after extra-time, with Martinez making two crucial saves.

Lionel Messi has called on Fifa to drop the Spanish official, who dished out 16 yellow cards over the tie and Martinez has gone further, accusing him of “wanting” the Oranje to score late on to send the contest into extra-time.

"It was a tricky game. I thought we controlled the game really well, we went 2-0 up,” said Martinez.

“Basically we controlled the game, the ref was just giving everything for them. All of a sudden, they get a good header – a good flick – which I couldn't see.

“Then it just turned upside down. The ref was giving everything for them. He gave 10 minutes [of added time], for no reason, 10 minutes.

“He was giving free kicks outside the box for them, like two or three times. He just wanted them to score, that's basically it, so hopefully we don't have that ref anymore. He's useless.”

Martinez also had choice words for Dutch boss Louis Van Gaal and his prediction over the tie lasting to penalties.

“I heard [Louis] van Gaal saying, 'Ah, we've got an advantage in penalties. If we go to penalties, we win,” he added. “I think he needs to keep his mouth shut.”

While Messi added that Lahoz should not be officiating matches at this level.

“I don’t want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened,” Messi said.

Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi argues with Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz (AFP via Getty Images)

“I think Fifa must take care of this, it cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance. The referee cannot fail to be up to the task.

“A lot of joy and relief. It wasn’t to go to penalty kicks. We suffered too much for how it all happened.

“But the it’s the quarter finals of the World Cup. Going through is the most beautiful and impressive thing.

“Argentina is among the top four, because we show game after game that we know how to play each game with the same intensity, with the same will.”

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