‘They can now give World Cup to Argentina’: Pepe slams Argentine referee for Morocco vs Portugal

The Selecao defender was left upset by the Argentine official for his side’s 1-0 loss to Morocco in the World Cup quarter-final tie

Jack Rathborn
Saturday 10 December 2022 17:57 GMT
Ronaldo in tears as Portugal knocked out World Cup by Morocco

Pepe insists Fifa “can now give the title to Argentina” after complaining about the Argentine referee in Portugal’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Morocco.

Facundo Tello officiated the 1-0 win for the Atlas Lions, with Youssef En-Nesyri’s goal the difference between the teams.

But veteran centre-back Pepe was left furious by Tello’s influence, which follows the Albiceleste’s win over the Netherlands on Friday.

Lionel Messi and Emi Martinez hit out at Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, calling on Fifa to drop him from the remainder of the Qatar tournament.

“It is unacceptable that an Argentine referee administered the game today after what happened yesterday,” Pepe said.

“With Messi complaining and Argentina talking. I’m not saying it’s conditional, but what did we play in the second half? Anything.

“Their goalkeeper was always stopped, only added eight minutes of injury time

“After what I saw today, they can now give the title to Argentina.”

Portugal's Pepe talks to referee Facundo Tello from Argentina

Bruno Fernandes reiterated Pepe’s line of thinking, with the Manchester United midfielder describing the involvement of a referee from a country still in the tournament as “strange”.

“I don’t know if they are going to give the cup to Argentina,” Fernandes said.

“I’m going to say what I think. It’s very strange that a referee from a team that is still in the World Cup is in charge.”

Santos’ future is now in doubt, with his contract running until 2024.

“We’ll talk about it,” he said when asked whether he will continue.

“We took a long time to get into the game, the first half especially, we couldn’t get our game going, although we had a few chances, but the players worked hard.

“Does it hurt more vs Morocco? It hurts going out of the World Cup, no matter who the opposition.”

While Bernardo Silva revealed his “sadness” at defeat, but conceded the best team won.

“It was a really tough game, against a competitive, aggressive team,” said the Manchester City star.

“It’s a feeling of disappointment, sadness. Our spirit was great, we felt we could make the semi-finals. I apologise to the Portuguese people. Morocco are in the semis because they deserve it.”

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