Portugal was eliminated by Morocco in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals after a 0-1 loss at the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar, on Saturday.
While Cristiano Ronaldo, its highest-ever goalscorer left the field in tears, defender Pepe and Bruno Fernandes have hit back on the referee for his country of origin, going on to indicate that the tournament has been skewed to favour the Albiceleste.
“It’s unacceptable for an Argentine referee to referee our game,” Pepe said on Portuguese television.
“After what happened yesterday, with (Lionel) Messi talking, all of Argentina talking, and the referee comes here.
“What did we play in the second half? The goalkeeper dropped to the ground. There were only eight minutes of stoppage time. We worked hard and the referee (only added on) eight minutes.”
Facundo Tello, the referee of the match, comes from Argentina and and has experience officiating Copa Libertadores, Argentine Premier Division, CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic qualifiers, and FIFA World Cup South American Qualifiers.
This is his first World Cup. He was enlisted in the FIFA referee panel in 2019. In Qatar, Tello has officiated two games. Incidentally, this will be his second game involving Portugal.
In his first Portugal game, South Korea won 2-1. His second game was between Switzerland and Cameroon. In those matches, he issued five yellow cards.
“We already know how it works... before the game we already knew what we were in for, and what kind of referee we would find,” said Fernandes, who was also furious after not being awarded a first-half penalty.
“Unfortunately, in these competitions, where there are no Portuguese referees, there are referees from teams that are still in the competition.
“It seems strange to me, to say the least, but I don’t want to get into that, because that’s not the only reason we lost.
“The referee gave two minutes of injury time in the first half and eight in the second. In this second half, the game was stopped, at minimum, for between 15 and 20 minutes.”