Portugal defender Pepe has hit out at FIFA for appointing Argentine match officials that took charge of their 1-0 loss to Morocco on Saturday.
The result saw them eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the quarterfinal stage, while the Atlas Lions progressed to the semifinals for the first time ever.
According to Pepe, the referee Facundo Tello, his two assistants and the video assistant referee’s nationality impacted the game.
“It’s unacceptable for an Argentine referee to referee our game,” Pepe said on Portuguese television.
“After what happened yesterday, with (Lionel) Messi talking, all of Argentina talking, and the referee comes here.
“What did we play in the second half? The goalkeeper dropped to the ground. There were only eight minutes of stoppage time. We worked hard and the referee (only added on) eight minutes.”
Bruno Fernandes also complained about the stoppage time, claiming the minutes added were few considering how the Moroccans wasted time to preserve their lead.
“We already know how it works… before the game we already knew what we were in for, and what kind of referee we would find,” said Fernandes, who was also furious after not being awarded a first-half penalty.
“Unfortunately, in these competitions, where there are no Portuguese referees, there are referees from teams that are still in the competition.
“It seems strange to me, to say the least, but I don’t want to get into that, because that’s not the only reason we lost.
“The referee gave two minutes of injury time in the first half and eight in the second. In this second half, the game was stopped, at minimum, for between 15 and 20 minutes.”