Wilton Sampaio, the controversial Brazilian referee who was heavily criticized for his performance in England’s World Cup loss to France, has been retained at the tournament and may even referee the final in Qatar.
FIFA’s decision means Sampaio could even take charge of the final this Sunday, despite a host of controversial decisions in England’s 2-1 loss to France on Saturday night.
Premier League referee Anthony Taylor also remains in contention to take charge of the World Cup final after surviving the last round of FIFA cups.
Despite awarding England two penalties – one via a VAR recommendation – Sampaio was criticized for his inconsistency throughout the quarter-final clash.
England felt there was a foul on Bukayo Saka by Dayot Upamecano during the build-up to France’s opener by Aurélien Tchouameni.
Gareth Southgate’s side were also surprised that a challenge from Upamecano on Harry Kane didn’t result in a penalty, or even a free-kick if he was outside the box.
England centre-back Harry Maguire described Sampaio as “very poor” after the game, adding: “He never gave us anything.”
Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio could officiate World Cup final after being retained by FIFA
He failed to give Harry Kane a first-half penalty for a challenge from Frenchman Dayot Upamecano
Bukayo Saka was fouled in the build-up to France’s opener in the quarter-final clash
But, remarkably, Sampaio could now referee the final after his native Brazil were knocked out of the World Cup by Croatia on Friday night.
There were 36 referees at the start of the tournament, including the two Premier League representatives in Taylor and Michael Oliver.
That number has now been reduced to 12 as the World Cup enters its final week, with Oliver among the unlucky having been fired from Qatar.
FIFA sources confirmed their last 12 to Sportsmail on Monday morning and the list includes Taylor, the 44-year-old from Wythenshawe, Manchester.
Harry Maguire (left) called Sampaio’s refereeing performance ‘very poor’ on Saturday
Oliver, arguably the best referee in the Premier League, will be disappointed to return home. The 37-year-old from Ashington, Northumberland has overseen three World Cup matches – Costa Rica 1-0 Japan, Mexico 2-1 Saudi Arabia and Croatia 1-1 Brazil – and has been praised for his performances.
Taylor oversaw two games, both in the group stage – Ghana’s 3-2 win over South Korea and Croatia’s 0-0 draw against Belgium. His assistants, Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn, also remain in Qatar.
Popular Dutch official Danny Makkelie is another of the 12 referees selected.
It comes after Sportsmail previously revealed that FIFA had privately told the Dutchman they were right to penalize Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for his hand in the face of Argentina’s Lionel Messi, despite fans having said so. called one of the worst decisions in World Cup history.
The three innovative female referees – Stephanie Frappart of France, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan – did not make the final FIFA 12 list.
Sampaio could referee the final after his native Brazil were knocked out of the tournament
Anthony Taylor (left) has remained in Qatar but fellow Premier League referee Michael Oliver has not
Sampaio’s criticism continued after England’s disappointing World Cup exit.
Jude Bellingham, when giving his verdict on Sampaio’s performance, said, “Not great, if I’m being honest, not great.” Anyone can have a bad game – players and referees – but I think he was not where he should have been in terms of level for a game like this.
The 12 arbitrators selected
Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Danny Makkelie (NED)
Simon Marciniak (POL)
Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
Muhammad Abdulla Hassan Muhammad (UAE)
Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)
Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Ismail Elfath (USA)
Raphael Claus (BRA)
Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
ITV pundit Gary Neville also described Sampaio’s performance as a “shock” in his post-match comments.
He said: “I think the referee could have been better, I thought he was awful. It’s not me who blames the referee for England’s exit, I just thought that he was awful.
“We were sitting in the corner where the penalty was with Kane in the first half, there were three or four fouls in that area in the first half and I thought, how did it not not been given a fault? It was strange.’
‘Even the sentence pronounced against [Theo] Hernandez was not given on the pitch, Neville continued. And don’t think too much about it, it was a flagrant foul.
“It’s a double mistake – the full-back lost his man and then hit him from the back. You see the defenders relieving the players – that wasn’t it, it was a barge in the back of a player. The referee was so bad. The first goal was hard.
It was not the first game that Sampaio was in the spotlight in Qatar after handing a controversial penalty to Saudi Arabia in their 2-0 loss to Poland.
He used the pitch monitor to penalize a tackle by Poland’s Krystian Bielik on Saudi forward Saleh Al-Shehri, despite showing minimal contact on replays.
At the last World Cup in Russia, he was part of the refereeing team that helped introduce VAR to the tournament.
His other two games in the 2022 tournament were victories for the Netherlands – against Senegal and the United States.