Gary Neville blasted the referee as England crashed out of the World Cup to France, calling him “a joke” and “really bad”.
Wilton Sampaio’s decision-making came under the spotlight when Bukayo Saka was caught by Dayot Upamecano in the build-up to Aurelien Tchouameni’s opening goal for France.
The French defender was involved again later in the half, seemingly fouling Harry Kane as he entered the box on the right but VAR failed to intervene, presumably considering the contact outside the box.
England finally got a penalty when Saka was fouled by Tchouameni before VAR had to award their second penalty for a mole on Mason Mount, although Kane fired the decisive penalty over.
Neville said of the referee: “He had an absolute nightmare. A joke of a referee. I’m not saying it was all down to England’s defeat – people will say there are excuses – but he’s just a bad referee , very bad.”
Neville believed France’s first goal should have been disallowed for the foul on Sakho: “It’s a simple decision. He kicks his leg away – I’m not sure why it’s not a foul. He nicked and he got him Pushed. It’s a free-kick. Upamecano tried to win the ball on three or four occasions where he couldn’t win the ball, on Saka, on any.
Planning on Sky Sports NewsNeville added: “I thought he was terrible. It’s not that I blame the referee for England being off, by the way, I just thought he was absolutely terrible. I don’t say that anymore. I used to when I played But now it is rare.
“I thought he was a shocker. We were sitting right there in that corner where the penalty was with Harry Kane in the first half. It felt like we were on top of it. There were three or four fouls in that area. from the field. In the first half where you thought ‘how was that not given?’ It was strange.
“Even the penalty that was given against Theo Hernandez was not given on the field. Don’t overthink that. It was a blatant foul. Another mistake on his back.
“The referee was so bad.”
Neville on England’s missed opportunity
“You get that feeling every couple of years, every four years and you feel a little hungover, just a little low, that’s how I think everybody feels the morning when your team goes out of a tournament,” Neville said. Sky Sports News Sunday morning. “I thought the performance was really good.
“Before the game I thought France were favourites, I thought they were the better team, but I thought that in this game we more than equaled them.
“I thought the second half we were better, the first half I thought they were good in parts, we were a bit scrappy but a missed opportunity definitely, I think, and it’s not difficult.
“I just think that’s how the players and Gareth will feel with the work that goes into getting to this stage of a tournament, the hoops you have to jump through and know that it only comes every four years and see What was in front of them in the semi-finals.
“Morocco did absolutely brilliantly and they will be a really tough opponent, but you think England against Morocco in a World Cup semi-final and again the opportunity doesn’t get any better than that.
“I think the guys are going to be sick this morning, they’re going to feel trapped. I’m looking at some of the guys last night, like Jordan Henderson at his age, doing the interview, in the back of his mind, he Will think, ‘Am I coming here again? Am I coming to the World Cup again?’.
“Kyle Walker who had a brilliant game against Kylian Mbappe, these sorts of things go through my mind this morning because I was there in 2006. I feel that way this morning.
“They did really well, the time I’ve been away from tournaments in the past we haven’t always covered ourselves in glory with the performance, I think the performance last night was really good. It was just the very fine margins , small details.
“Obviously, the penalty that Harry missed and turned for him as well, but those are things that happen in a football match, but overall I thought the performance was fantastic in a really top game against an opponent who has a lot of class .
“There is nothing worse than coming from a game of football and thinking you are worse and that you deserve to lose, and that you are not the equal of the opposition and you are a bit of an imposter really, and sometimes I felt like that with England.
“That’s not what happened last night, we looked like we were dominating the French for large parts of the second half and we were beaten for a moment with a great bit of play from Griezmann, whose ball into the box was wonderful.”
Neville on England competing technically now
“The players we have can carry this forward and those who will compete in the next tournament can take the belief that we can compete with the nations.
“In Euro 96, we were probably against Germany, but in 2004 and 2006, we were parked on the edge of our own box, really hoping that they wouldn’t score, or that we would go to penalties or that we would get a goal. .This is not the way to dominate and win a football tournament and win a trophy.
“Last night, England will think that was a massive missed opportunity. I think that more this morning than I did last night, just because the moment was now, and you just don’t know when they’re going to come around again.
“I thought that four years ago when we played against Croatia, but the boys brought us in these situations again and again, and it was that little something that just couldn’t get us over the line. But I feel like the right things .are happening on the field.
“We have a technical ability that is growing and the belief that is growing. In the past certainly, there were autopsies about tournaments and defeats, I do not feel that way this morning at all, I feel missed opportunities, I feel that the boys They will indeed be scared but not where they will think they were worse and this was not always the case.
“There are going to be people this morning and in the next few days who are going to start to turn the screws a little bit and say that we should win the matches, we shouldn’t assume that we play well and lose, pretend that everything is fine, and I get that A little, and you can take the harsh approach if you want, that’s no problem.
“I just look at the performance and I think football matches are decided by margins and that’s what happened last night. There was a moment last night where you felt they were there for the taking and we didn’t go and grab it and They got the goal to be beautiful in the time after that, what could happen.
“There was an element of me thinking continue to grab it, and we grabbed it and got to the game, but you have to get over the line, you just have to, the best teams, the ones that are remembered, get over the Line.
“But I still feel like it’s the evolution, it’s part of the journey. I thought we played well, it was a game we could always lose. We all probably thought they were favorites and they would probably win six Out of 10 games if we played against them.”
Bellingham and Maguire press the referee: “Really poor” – “Not up to par”
England’s Jude Bellingham also said after the game that referee Sampaio was “not at the level” expected for such a big occasion.
Asked about the official’s performance, Bellingham said ITV: “Not great if I’m honest, not great. Anyone can have a bad game, players and referees. I think he’s not where he should have been today in terms of the level for a game like this.
“But there are more reasons why we lost, it’s definitely not me putting it all on him, we were the ones who played the game, but yeah, I don’t think he was at that level tonight.
“I think there were several [fouls] Around the box in the first half, we were deadly in set pieces, and I think that one of those can make the difference.”
Harry Maguire also said BBC: “Really poor, very poor. From minute one, there were five, six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not one yellow card. It’s a foul for the first goal, leading to it on Bukayo.
“I can’t really go into explaining how bad his performance was. I don’t want to go into too much because I’ll end up getting a fine. But even though the big decisions were wrong, he never gave us anything, throughout the whole Time. Play He’s really poor.”
But manager Gareth Southgate could not criticize Sampaio, saying: “We lost the game. I don’t think about referees. France is a fantastic team, with fantastic players. Didier did a fantastic job. Congratulations to them. I Don’t think it’s right, especially when you’re losing, to talk about the officials.
Analysis: Referee performance under scrutiny
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol in Qatar:
“From early on, England fans were not happy with the referee.
“For France’s first goal, there was a clear foul on Saka. On the second penalty, surely Theo Hernandez should have received a red card for that because he wasn’t trying to get the ball.
“And everyone sitting around me didn’t believe that Griezmann didn’t get a red card, how many fouls did he make?
“And why did the referee have to use VAR so often? Some of the decisions should have been clear.
“And why was a referee from Brazil refereeing this game? I suppose he didn’t take charge of many games with French and English players.
“I thought the referee’s performance was questionable.”