HomeSportsThe referee decisions that went against England against France

    The referee decisions that went against England against France

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    It’s fair to say that England have a right to seethe at the refereeing performance that overshadowed some brilliant football played in the Three Lions’ 2-1 World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.

    Brazilian official Wilton Sampaio was the centre of attention following Les Bleus’ narrow progression to the final four in Qatar, proving the butt of much criticism from fans, pundits and even players alike.

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    And, it must be said, some of the decisions – made by the VAR team as well as the man in the middle – left spectators scratching their heads. So, what were some of the decisions that went against the Three Lions in that defeat to Didier Deschamps’ side?

    The first indication of what was to come was in the build-up to France’s opening strike. Prior to Aurelien Tchouameni thundering a long-range strike into Jordan Pickford’s bottom corner in the 17th minute, Bukayo Saka looked to have been dispossessed illegally at the other end of the pitch.

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    The Arsenal winger went to ground under the pressure of Dayot Upamecano’s clumsiness and overly close attention, with what looked like a blatant kick sending Saka to the floor. A few seconds later, Les Bleus were off celebrating Tchouameni’s opener.

    Upamecano was in for a difficult evening following that moment. After Harry Kane had rolled the burly defender with ease and seen Hugo Lloris save his effort well, the Tottenham striker was evidently hacked to the ground by the Bayern Munich centre-back on 25 minutes.

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    Rushing into the area, Kane was tripped by Upamecano’s desperate flailing leg, with contact looking to have terminated inside the area. Sampaio, however, saw nothing wrong with the challenge and VAR went with his decision.

    Following the break, England’s fortune didn’t improve.

    While Tchouameni’s rash challenge on Saka was immediately given as a penalty six minutes after the interval – scored emphatically by Kane – the officials later dismissed second-half claims for spot kicks from Jude Bellingham, whose right knee was visibly knocked off balance by another lazy and clumsy challenge from Upamecano (prompting the below reaction from the Three Lions starlet), and Harry Maguire, who might have had a small case with his arm being held and pulled back from a late set-piece.

    Nothing doing, though, according to the officials.

    Gareth Southgate’s men were eventually awarded a second penalty of the evening after Olivier Giroud headed France back into the lead in the 78th minute. Although Sampaio came in for more scrutiny at his handling of the events.

    The referee initially waved away despairing claims from Mason Mount and his teammates, after the Chelsea midfielder went to ground under the barge of Theo Hernandez. Upon a review by VAR, the Milan full-back had clearly thrown his shoulder into Mount’s back, denying the Englishman a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

    After going to the pitch-side monitor via the instruction of the VAR, however, the Brazilian referee did reverse his decision and give Southgate’s men a spot kick, which Kane failed to convert as he blazed over the crossbar. Sampaio still managed to anger England once more by only giving Hernandez a yellow card, though, despite the Frenchman seemingly making no attempt whatsoever for the ball in denying Mount a route through on goal.

    In the end, it must be noted that England did have the opportunity to draw level and failed to take it. However, there is little doubt that the eventual outcome was affected by an objectively bizarre – as much as shockingly poor – officiating performance.

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