Gary Neville was furious with the referee when England crashed to France during the World Cup, calling him “a joke” and “poor rank”.
Wilton Sampaio’s decision-making was in the spotlight as Bukayo Saka was caught by Dayot Upamecano ahead of Aurelien Tchouameni’s opening goal for France.
The French defender was involved again later in the half and appeared to foul Harry Kane as he entered the penalty area on the right, but VAR did not intervene, presumably thinking the contact was outside the box.
England eventually got a penalty when Saka was fouled by Tchouameni before VAR had to step in to award their second penalty for a foul on Mason Mount, though Kane shot the decisive penalty over.
Neville said of the referee: “He had an absolute nightmare. A joke of a referee. I’m not saying it was all down to England’s defeat – people will say it’s excuses – but he’s just a bad referee, badly arranged.”
Neville felt France’s first goal should have been disallowed for the foul on Saka: “It’s a simple decision. He kicks his leg away – I’m not sure why that’s not a foul. He nibbled and kicked him. It should be a free kick. Upamecano tried three or four times to win the ball, but he couldn’t win it, over Saka, over Kane.’
Further develop Sky Sports newsadded Neville: “I thought he was awful. By the way, I’m not blaming the referee for England being out, I just thought he was absolutely awful. I don’t actually say that anymore. I used to do that when I played But it is rare now.
“I thought he was a shock. We were there in that corner where the penalty was with Harry Kane in the first half. It felt like we were on top of it. There were three or four fouls in that part of the field. In the first half where you thought, “How is that not given?” It was weird.
“Even the penalty against Theo Hernandez was not given on the pitch. Don’t think about it too long. It was a blatant foul. The full-back thought he had lost his man and he was going to score, so he made a double fault by attacking him in the back.
“The referee was so bad.”
Neville on England’s missed opportunity
“You get this feeling every few years, every four years and you feel a little hungover, a little down, I think that’s how everyone feels this morning when your team goes out of a tournament,” Neville said. Sky Sports news on Sunday morning. “I really liked the performance.
“Before the game I thought France were favourites, I thought they were the better team, but I actually thought we more than matched them over the course of the game.
“I thought we were better in the second half, in the first half I thought they were good in parts, we were a bit sloppy, but definitely a missed opportunity I think, and that’s not being harsh.
“I just think that’s how the players and Gareth will feel with the work that goes into getting to this stage of a tournament, the hoops you have to jump through and knowing it only comes once every four years and see what is in it.” for them in the semifinals.
“Morocco have done absolutely brilliantly and they will be a very tough opponent, but then you think England vs Morocco in a World Cup semi-final and again the odds don’t get any better than that.
“I think those guys are going to feel sick this morning, they’re going to feel gutted. I look at some of the guys last night, like Jordan Henderson at his age, doing that interview, in the back of his mind, he’s going to think, ‘ Will I come here again? Will I come to the World Cup again?’.
“Kyle Walker who played a brilliant game against Kylian Mbappé, things like that are going through my mind this morning because I was there in 2006. That’s how I feel this morning.”
“They’ve done a really good job, the times I’ve gone out of tournaments in the past we haven’t always enveloped ourselves in glory with the performance, I think the performance last night was really good. It was just those very fine margins , small details.
“Obviously the penalty that Harry also missed and was eroded for him, but those are things that happen in a football game, but overall I thought the performance was fantastic in a really top level match against a classy opponent.
“There’s nothing worse than thinking after a football game that you were inferior and that you deserved to lose, that you weren’t the opponent’s equal and that you’re actually a bit of a cheat. That with England.
“That wasn’t what happened last night. We looked like we were dominating the French for much of that second half and we were beaten ourselves at one point with a great play from Griezmann, whose ball in the penalty area was great.”
Neville on England is now technically in
“The players we have can continue that and those who will be in the next tournament will be able to believe that we can compete with these countries.
“In Euro 96 we probably played against Germany, but in 2004 and 2006 we stood on the edge of our own penalty area, hoping they wouldn’t score, or we’d get penalties or we’d score a goal. That’s not the way to dominate and win a football tournament and win a trophy.
“Last night England will think this is a huge missed opportunity. I think this morning more than last night, just because the time was now and you just don’t know when they will come.” again.
“I thought that four years ago when we played against Croatia, but these guys have put us in these situations time and time again, and there’s something that just can’t get us over the line. But I feel like the right things are happening on the field.
“We have a growing technical ability and a growing faith. In the past there have certainly been autopsies about exiting tournaments and defeats, I don’t feel like that at all this morning, I feel like a missed opportunity, I feel the guys will be really down but not true they will think they were inferior and that hasn’t always been the case.
“There will be people this morning and in the days to come who are going to turn the screw a little bit and say we should be winning these games, we shouldn’t be accepting that we are playing well and losing, pretending everything is fine. And I get that a bit, and you can use that hard approach if you want, that’s no problem.
“I just look at the performance and I think football games are decided by margins and that’s what happened last night. Last night there was a moment where you felt like they were up for grabs and we weren’t going to get it and they got it aim to be honest in the period after that which can happen.
“There was an element I thought, go ahead, get it, and we took it and got to grips with the game, but you have to cross the line, you just have to, the best teams, the ones that have been remembered, get over the stripe.
“But I still feel like it’s the evolution, it’s part of the journey. I thought we played well, it was a game we could always lose. We probably all thought they were favorites and they would probably win six times.” of 10 games when we played against them.”
Bellingham and Maguire slap referee: ‘Really bad’ – ‘Not on the level’
England’s Jude Bellingham also said after the match that referee Sampaio was “not at the level” expected for such a big occasion.
When asked about the official’s performance, Bellingham recounted ITV: “Not great to be honest, not great. Anyone can have a bad game, players and referees. I think today he was not where he should have been in terms of level for a game like this.
“But there are more factors why we lost, I certainly don’t put it all on him, we were the ones who played the game, but yeah, I don’t think he was on the level tonight.
“I think it was a few [fouls] around 16 in the first half, we’re deadly on set pieces, and I think any one of those can make a difference.”
Harry Maguire told it too BBC: “Really bad, very bad. From the first minute there were five, six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not a single yellow card. It’s a foul for the first goal, leading up to Bukayo.
“I can’t really explain how bad his performance was. I don’t want to get into too much because then I end up being fined. But even though the big decisions were wrong, he never gave us any game. He was really bad.”
But manager Gareth Southgate stopped criticizing Sampaio, saying: “We lost the game. I don’t think about referees. France are a fantastic team, with fantastic players. Didier did a fantastic job. Congratulations to them. I don’t think It’s right, especially when you lose, to talk about the officials.”
Analysis: Referee performance under the microscope
Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News in Qatar:
“From the start, England fans were not happy with the referee.
“For France’s first goal, there seemed to be a clear foul on Saka. Theo Hernandez should have been red carded for the second penalty, because he didn’t try to get hold of the ball.”
“And everyone around me couldn’t believe that Griezmann didn’t get a red card. How many fouls did he commit?
“And why did the referee have to use VAR so often? Some decisions should have been clear.
“And why did a referee from Brazil separate this game? I assume he hasn’t managed many games with French and English players.
“I thought the referee’s behavior was questionable.”