Portugal has been left reeling in the wake of quarterfinal defeat after tournament darlings Morocco relied on dogged determination and tactical nous under Walid Regragui to earn a historic 1-0 win over Cristiano Ronaldo and co.
Fernando Santos’ A Seleçao looked odds-on favorites to reach the semi-finals after a 6-1 demolition job on Switzerland in the round of 16 but were unable to string together back-t0-back dominant performances in the knockout stage, but have now turned their frustrations in the direction of head match official Facundo Tello.
Tello, an Argentine, has drawn attention after both Bruno Fernandes and Pepe have suggested that it is unfair for a referee from a nation still in the competition to preside over a fixture at this stage in the competition.
“I don’t know if they’re going to give the cup to Argentina. I don’t care, I’m going to say what I think and screw them” Fernandes stated. “It’s very strange that a referee from a team that whistles us it’s still in the Cup. They’ve clearly tilted the field against us.”
Pepe’s comments in his post-match interview reflected identical sentiments; “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.”
It is certainly hard to argue with the point overall as it does have merit, but on the flip side, would Portugal have levied the same claims if they went on to win earlier this evening? Additionally, the fact that Tello produced two quickfire yellow cards to give second-half substitute Walid Cheddira his marching orders during stoppage time shows no inherent level of bias on the night from the referee.