To anyone who watched the Argentina vs Netherlands 2022 World Cup quarter-final, it probably won’t come as much of a surprise that that game proved to be referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz’s last match of the tournament. The Spanish match official dished out EIGHTEEN yellow cards – easily a World Cup record – in that clash, including one for Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni and three after the deciding penalty shootout, two of which were shown to Dutch right-back Denzel Dumfries.
Lionel Messi a fierce critic of Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Mateu Lahoz received severe criticism from all corners for his role in a hostile match, with Argentina captain Lionel Messi particularly scathing in his assessment of the Spaniard’s performance.
“I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you. But we were scared before the game because we knew what was coming [with Mateu Lahoz],” he said.
“I can’t say what I think but FIFA have to look at this, [FIFA] cannot put a referee like that on this game when he is not up to the level.”
Yesterday, Louis van Gaal described Mateu Lahoz as “a wonderful referee”. Which, of all the silly things he has said this World Cup, is definitely the silliest.
— Richard Jolly 🇺🇦 (@RichJolly) December 9, 2022
Messi’s teammate, Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, described Mateu Lahoz as “crazy, the worst referee in the tournament, he is arrogant. 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.” Ouch.
Only one referee from the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals kept on by FIFA
Things haven’t gone much better for the referees of the other quarter-final ties. Englishman Michael Oliver had a fairly uneventful time in charge of Croatia vs Brazil but hasn’t been kept on for the final stages, while Facundo Tello has also left Qatar with Argentina, his home country, still in the competition. “Not before time,” they’ll be saying in Portugal.
However, much to the shock of certain members of the England camp (and no doubt fanbase), Brazilian whistler Wilton Sampaio is the only official who took charge of a quarter-final who is on the list of 12 referees in with a chance of overseeing the final. Former England right-back and television pundit Gary Neville described Sampaio’s performance against France as “rank bad” and “a joke”, while Three Lions centre-back Harry Maguire was also unhappy with the Brazilian’s “really poor” decision-making. Sampaio twice needed VAR to award Gareth Southgate’s team what look to be clear-cut penalties and judged that Bukayo Saka wasn’t fouled in the run-up to France’s first goal, which England were deeply unhappy about.
In addition to Mateu Lahoz, Oliver and Tello, the three female officials who featured at a male World Cup for the first time have also gone home: Stéphanie Frappert of France, Salima Mukansanga from Ruwanda and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita.
Which referees have been appointed for the semi-finals?
Italian Daniele Orsato will take charge of Argentina vs Croatia on Tuesday, 13 December (kickoff at 2pm ET / 11am PT).
César Ramos from Mexico will referee France vs Morocco on Wednesday, 14 December (kickoff at 2pm ET / 11am PT).
Who could referee the World Cup final?
FIFA have reportedly retained 12 referees (and their officiating teams) for the closing stages of the competition. Orsato, who took charge of the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador, remains, as does Abdulrahman Al-Jassim of the home nation. The referee chosen for the final will depend on the teams who qualify (Brazilians Sampaio and Raphael Claus and have no chance of being involved in the final if Argentina make it through, you’d imagine) :
Daniele Orsato (Italy)César Ramos (Mexico)Anthony Taylor (England)Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)Szymon Marciniak (Poland)Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (Qatar)Muhammad Abdulla Hassan Muhammad (UAE)Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)Ismail Elfath (USA)Raphael Claus (Brazil)Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)Jesús Valenzuela (Venezuela)