Gary Neville fumed at the referee when England withdrew from the World Cup against France, calling it a ‘joke’ and a ‘low rank’.
Wilton Sampaio’s decision-making was in the spotlight when Bukayo Saka was caught by Dayot Upamecano in the build-up to Aurelien Tchouameni’s first goal for France.
The French defender was implicated again later in the half, apparently fouling Harry Kane as he entered the penalty area from the right, but VAR did not intervene, presumably believing the contact in off the surface.
England were eventually awarded a penalty when Saka was fouled by Tchouameni before VAR had to intervene to award their second penalty for a foul on Mason Mount, although Kane took the decisive penalty.
Neville said of the referee: “He had an absolute nightmare. A referee joke. I’m not saying it was all down to England losing – people will say it’s an apology – but it’s just a bad referee, a bad ranking.”
Neville thought France’s first goal should have been ruled out for the foul on Saka: “It’s a simple decision. He kicks it – I don’t know why it’s not a foul. Free kick Upamecano has tried to win the ball three or four times where he can’t win the ball, on Saka, on Kane.
Elaborate on Sky Sports NewsNeville added: “I thought he was awful. It’s not me who blames the referee for England’s absence, by the way, I just thought he was absolutely awful. I’m not saying anymore I used to do that when I was playing But it’s rare now.
“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 over the top. There were three or four fouls in that area of the pitch in the first half where you were like, ‘How was that not given?’ It was weird.
“Even the penalty that was given against Theo Hernandez was not given on the pitch. Don’t think too much about it. That was a flagrant foul, that. The full-back thought he had lost his man and he was going to score so he made a double mistake by kicking him in the back.
“The referee was so bad.”
Neville on England’s missed chance
“You get that feeling every two years, every four years and you’re a little hungover, just a little down, that’s what I think everyone is feeling this morning when your team comes 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 during the game we more than tied them.
“I thought we were better in the second half, in the first half I thought they were good in places, we were a bit scrappy but a missed chance definitely I think, and that’s not hard .
“I just think that’s how the players and Gareth will feel with the work it takes to get to this stage of a tournament, the hoops that you have to go through and knowing that it only happens every four years and seeing what who was ahead of them in the semi-finals.
“Morocco did absolutely brilliantly, and they’re going to be a very tough opponent, but then you think England against Morocco in the semi-finals of the World Cup, and again, the opportunity doesn’t become better than that.
“I think these guys are going to feel sick this morning, they’re going to feel drained. I’m watching some of the guys last night, like Jordan Henderson at his age, doing this interview, in the back of his mind he’s going to think, ‘Is I come back here? Am I coming back to the World Cup?
“Kyle Walker who had a brilliant game against Kylian Mbappe, those kinds of things are going through my head this morning because I went there in 2006. I feel like that this morning.
“They’ve done really well, the times I’ve come out of 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 those very nice margins, few details.
“Obviously the penalty that Harry also missed and cleared for him, but those are things that happen in a game of football, but in general I thought the performance was fantastic in a game at a very high level. against an opponent who had a lot of class.
“There’s nothing worse than walking out of a football game and thinking you were inferior and deserved to lose, and you weren’t equal to the opposition and you’re really a bit of an impostor, and sometimes I felt like the one with England.
“That’s not what happened last night, we looked like we dominated the French for a lot of that second half and we were beaten by a moment ourselves with good play from Griezmann, whose ball in the box was wonderful.”
Neville on England in technical competition now
“The players we have can pursue that and those who come to the next tournament will be able to believe that we can compete with those 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 they wouldn’t score, or we’d get a penalty shootout or ‘we would score a goal That’s not the way to dominate and win a football tournament and win a trophy.
“Last night England will think it’s a huge missed opportunity. I think 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 back. . Again.
“I thought four years ago when we played against Croatia, but these guys put us in these situations over and over again, and there’s been this little something that just can’t help us. to cross the line. But I feel like good things are happening on the pitch.
“We have a growing technical ability and growing conviction. Certainly in the past there have been autopsies on tournament exits and defeats, I don’t feel like that at all this morning, I feel like a missed opportunity I feel the guys will be really discouraged but not where they think they were inferior and that hasn’t always been the case.
“There will be people this morning and in the next few days who will start to turn the screw a bit and say that we should win these games, that we should not accept that we play well and lose, pretending everything is fine. And I kind of understand that, and you can take that hard-line approach if you want, that’s fine.
“I just look at the performance and I think football games are decided by margins and that’s what happened last night. There was a moment last night when you felt they were there for the catch and we didn’t go and grab it and they had a goal to be fair in the after period, which can happen.
“There was an element in which I thought I would continue to grab it, and we were grabbing it and getting to know the game, but you have to cross the line, you just have to, the best teams, the ones that are remember, cross line.
“But I still feel like it’s evolution, it’s part of the journey. I thought we played well, it was a game we could always lose. We probably all thought they were favorites and they would probably win six out of 10 games if we played against them.”
Bellingham and Maguire slam referee: ‘Really mediocre’ – ‘Not up to standard’
England’s Jude Bellingham also said after the match that referee Sampaio was “not at the level” expected for such a big occasion.
Asked about the official’s performance, Bellingham said TVI: “Not great if I’m honest, not great. Everyone can have a bad game, players and referees. I think he wasn’t where he should have been today in terms of level for a game like this one.
“But there are more factors as to why we lost, it’s definitely not me putting it all on him, it’s us who played the game, but yeah, I don’t think he was on the level. tonight.
“I think there were a few [fouls] around the box in the first half we are lethal from set pieces, and I think any one of them can make a difference.”
Harry Maguire also said BBC: “Really mediocre, very mediocre. From the first minute, there were five, six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not a single yellow card. It was a foul for the first goal, which preceded it on Bukayo .
“I can’t really explain how bad his performance was. I don’t want to say too much because I will end up being fined. But even if the big decisions were bad, he never gave us anything, throughout the game he was really bad.”
But coach Gareth Southgate refrained from criticizing Sampaio saying: “We lost the game. I’m not thinking about the referees. France are a fantastic team, with fantastic players. Didier did a fantastic job. Congratulations to them. I don’t think it’s fair, especially when you’re losing, to talk about officials.”
Analysis: the performances of the referees under surveillance
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol in Qatar:
“From the start, the English fans were unhappy with the referee.
“For France’s first goal, there seemed to be a clear foul on Saka. On the second penalty, Theo Hernandez should surely have received a red card for that because he wasn’t trying to win the ball back.
“And everyone sitting around me couldn’t believe Griezmann didn’t get a red card. How many fouls did he commit?
“And why did the referee need to use VAR so often? Some of the decisions should have been clear.
“And why did a Brazilian referee officiate this game? I guess he didn’t take charge of many games with French and English players.
“I thought the referee’s performance was questionable.”