Wilton Sampaio is the controversial referee who took charge of England’s World Cup loss to France… the Brazilian was only a VAR at the last tournament, had already attracted criticism in Qatar and made a number of errors as the Three Lions crashed out
Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio attracted the attention for all the wrong reasons as England crashed out of the World Cup with a 2-1 loss to France.
The 40-year-old came under fierce criticism during the match – particularly in the first-half when he failed to give the Three Lions a penalty when Dayot Upamecano fouled Harry Kane.
There was also a controversial decision not to award Bukayo Saka a free-kick after a foul by Upamecano in the build-up to Aurelien Tchouameni’s opener.
Referee Wilton Sampaio made a number of glaring errors as England exited the World Cup
Sampaio failed to give a penalty when Dayot Upamecano fouled Harry Kane in the first-half
Sampaio has already attracted criticism for his decisions in Qatar, something which will be highlighted even further after England’s 2-1 defeat to France.
Kane and his Three Lions team-mates reacted well after falling behind to Aurelien Tchouameni’s long-range strike, responding by pinning France’s defence back and creating a number of openings.
During that bright spell, the England captain picked up the ball on the right and got goal side of Upamecano before being brought down by the Bayern Munich star.
There was a short delay as Wilton Sampaio waited to be advised by VAR on whether he should go to the monitor to review his initial decision. However, shortly after the referee waved play on to the bemusement of supporters in Qatar and at home.
It was just one of a number of challenges during the game which were not given, including the one in the build-up to France’s opener.
The referee failed to give England a number of decisions during the heartbreaking defeat
There were calls for a free-kick after Saka was fouled in the build-up to France’s opener
The 21-year-old received the ball on the edge won the ball in the French penalty area, before Upamecano came through on the young winger from behind forcing him to the floor.
France subsequently countered on England, attacking with pace and catching Gareth Southgate’s side off-guard, with Aurelien Tchouameni striking a long-range effort past Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock.
Gary Neville said after the game: ‘The referee I thought he had an absolute nightmare. He’s a joke of a referee, him.’
‘People will say it’s excuse, but he was just bad.’
The referee did give England two penalties during the game, the first when Saka was clumsily fouled by Tchouameni – which Kane converted.
England’s second penalty was after Theo Hernandez barged into the back of Mason Mount – a decision which was not originally given.
After being told by VAR to check out the incident, Sampaio had no other choice but to award the penalty.
Sampaio needed VAR to give England’s second penalty after Mason Mount was clattered
Unfortunately for England, Kane skied his penalty over the crossbar.
Sampaio had previously attracted criticism for awarding Saudi Arabia a controversial penalty against Poland earlier in the tournament.
He used the pitchside monitor to penalise a challenge by Poland’s Krystian Bielik on Saudi forward Saleh Al-Shehri, despite minimal contact shown on the replays.
He was also criticised by pundits in Saudi Arabia for failing to give Matty Cash a second yellow card after giving him an early booking in the 16th minute of the match, with Poland going onto win 2-0 on their way to the knockout stages.
It was heartbreak for England as Kane missed his second penalty and England crashed out
He’s known as a tough disciplinarian who dishes out yellow cards at every possible occasion, handing out 105 bookings and four red cards in just 21 games in Brazil’s top league.
Before the match, Sampaio had refereed 381 games in his career, giving out 1,856 yellow cards and 102 red cards. He has also awarded 114 penalty kicks.
At the last World Cup in Russia, he was part of the refereeing team that helped introduce VAR to the tournament.
His two other games at the 2022 tournament were both victories for Holland – against Senegal and the United States.
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