Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher concedes World Cup official Wilton Pereira Sampaio ‘did not perform to the level you would expect’ in England’s quarter-final defeat to France.
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England’s bid to win their first World Cup since 1966 was ended on Saturday as defending champions France clinched a 2-1 victory at the Al Bayt Stadium.
France took the lead on 17 minutes through Tchouameni after they were allowed to break despite Bukayo Saka being fouled.
England levelled after the break – Harry Kane equalling Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53 goals with a penalty – but Olivier Giroud put France back in front with 12 minutes left.
It appeared as though the quarter-final clash would go to extra-time as England were given a late penalty, but Kane blazed his effort over.
England’s players were frustrated with referee Sampaio during the game and have since blasted his performance, describing it as ‘a joke’.
Ex-referee Gallagher agrees that Sampaio ‘didn’t produce on the day’ and says not awarding England a free-kick for the foul on Saka before France’s opener was a mistake.
‘I think it’s a foul. I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s a foul, you can see it’s a foul,’ Gallagher told Sky Sports.
‘If the referee doesn’t see it, the assistant has a perfect view, he’s looking straight at it and is very, very close. If the assistant flagged, everyone would have accepted that decision.
‘Then the problem is there’s 25 seconds between the incident and the France goal. As we know in the Premier League, VAR would never go back that far. That’s not what VAR is there for.’
On the referee’s performance as a whole, Gallagher said: ‘Whether he was nervous or the occasion got to him, he [Sampaio] certainly didn’t perform how you would expect a ref at that level to perform.
‘It wasn’t the level of a referee in a World Cup quarter-final. You can’t say he wasn’t at that level but I would say he didn’t produce on the day.
‘During the 90 minutes, he didn’t reflect that level. The problems emanated from decisions he didn’t make rather than ones he did make.’