Portugal have withdrawn from the 2022 World Cup after a 1-0 defeat to Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday at the Al Thumama stadium.
However, after the match, defender Pepe and midfielder Bruno Fernandes expressed their outrage at the appointment of Facunda Tello, an Argentinian, as referee for their knockout match.
‘I’ll have to say it. It is unacceptable that an Argentinian referee separates our game. After what happened yesterday, talking to Messi, talking to all of Argentina and the referee is coming here,” Pepe said.
MOROCCO GOES TO THE SEMI-FINAL! 🇲🇦@adidasfootball | #FIFA world cup
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 10, 2022
The captain of Portugal in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo further added: “What did we play in the second half? The goalkeeper fell to the ground. There were only eight minutes of stoppage time. We worked hard and the referee eight minutes? We played nothing in the second half. The only team playing football was us. We are sad. We had the quality to win the World Cup and we failed to do that.”
Bruno Fernandes also raged about it. “I don’t know if they are going to give the trophy to Argentina,” said the Manchester United player.
“I don’t care, I say what I think and screw them up. It is very strange that a referee sends us from a country that is still in competition. It is clear that they have tilted the field against us,” he added.
Morocco took the lead in the third quarter-final in the 42nd minute after a Youssef En-Nesyri headed in, which was enough to push them through to the semi-finals, becoming the first African country to do so.