‘They Can Give the Title to Argentina Now’, Says Irate Pepe After Portugal’s Elimination
Portugal crashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2022 after they went down to Morocco 1-0 after as a solitary strike from Youssef En-Nesyri was enough to settle things for the Atlas Lions.
With the win, Morocco became the first African nation to reach the World Cup semifinal as Portugal were sent packing.
Veteran Portuguese defender Pepe was left frustrated after the game as he was seen venting out his anger in the post-match interview in a bizarre manner targeting the Argentine referee tasked with officiating the last eight fixture.
“It’s inadmissible that an Argentine referee was in charge today after what happened yesterday, with Messi complaining. After what I saw today, they can give the title to Argentina now.”
The 39-year-old’s anger might be rather misplaced as Morocco went into the lead before the break and held on to the advantage to see out the Iberians.
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The fixture between Morocco and Portugal was very much a tame affair in comparison to the quarterfinal tie between Argentina and Netherlands which witnessed the referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz brandishing a record 17 yellow cards.
Argentina came out winners against the Dutch on penalties after the Europeans clawed back from two goals down to force extra time and eventually took the match to spot kicks.
After the ill-tempered game, Argentine captain Lionel Messi was quoted saying “I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you.”
The seven-time Balon D’Or winner went on to say “They cannot put a referee like that on this game when he is not up to the level.”
The Argentine shares an uneasy history with the Spanish referee who has earned the ire of the South American forward during his time in Spain, where he played for Barcelona before transferring to the French capital to play for PSG.
Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez also threw his weight behind Messi as he said “You say something to him and he talks back to you badly. I think since Spain went out, he wanted us to go out as well.”
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