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Pepe and Fernandes blast Argentina referee after Portugal’s World Cup exit

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Portuguese players Pepe and Bruno Fernandes have blasted the Argentine referee responsible for their 1-0 World Cup quarter-final loss to Morocco on Saturday, saying his nationality impacted the game. Argentina progressed on Friday beating the Netherlands and if they reach the final they could play against Morocco if they win their semi-final against England or France. Match referee Facundo Tello, his two assistants and the video assistant referee were all from Argentina.

“It’s unacceptable that an Argentinian referee referees our game,” Pepe told Portuguese television.

“After what happened yesterday, with (Lionel) Messi speaking, all of Argentina speaking, and the referee comes here.

“What did we play in the second half? The goalkeeper fell to the ground. There was only eight minutes of added time. We worked hard and the referee (only added) eight minutes.”

Argentina striker Messi had complained about the refereeing of his side’s clash with the Netherlands, saying too much time had been added.

Portugal’s main complaint was that there was too little going on in their clash with Morocco, criticizing the North African side’s alleged loss of time in the second half.

Bruno Fernandes complained that a lot more added time should have been added and that referees for teams still involved in the tournament should not be appointed for matches.

– “I knew what to expect” –

“We already know how it works…before the game we already knew what was in store for us and what kind of referee we were going to find,” said Fernandes, who was also furious at not receiving a penalty in the first half. -time.

“Unfortunately, in these competitions, where there are no Portuguese referees, there are referees from teams that are still in competition.

“It seems strange to me, to say the least, but I don’t want to go into details because that’s not the only reason we lost.

“The referee awarded two minutes of additional time in the first half and eight in the second. In this second half, the game was stopped, at least, between 15 and 20 minutes.”

Fernandes added: “We knew we would be playing against a lot more than Morocco.”

However, his coach Fernando Santos doesn’t think the officials made much of a difference in his team’s elimination.

“I don’t think, I think he could have called a foul on one or two (more) occasions but generally speaking I don’t think so,” Santos said.

“I think we could have done more and we didn’t. I don’t think we should blame the referee, it doesn’t make sense.”

The coach, who has a contract until after Euro 2024, said he would discuss his future in the coming days with the Portuguese football federation.

Manchester City Ruben Dias believes the team still has a lot of potential going forward.

“Above all, it is important at this moment, despite the difficulty in digesting (the defeat), to accumulate more experience,” Dias said.

“We have a very young generation with a lot of quality and we have to have faith that nothing is lost.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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