England vs France, VAR, referee, Wilton Sampaio, who is refereeing? news, reaction, Harry Kane penalty miss, news

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England were awarded two penalties, but bore the brunt of a host of harsh refereeing decisions in their World Cup quarter-final defeat to France in Qatar – and fans and pundits were up in arms.

England players blew up repeatedly at Brazilian official Wilton Sampaio as he refused to award fouls in their favour, with young attacker Bukayo Saka targeted by French defenders for a host of painful challenges.

The Three Lions were appalled when France’s opening goal wasn’t ruled out for an earlier foul on Saka, before England captain Harry Kane was denied a penalty for a foul on the edge of the box.

England legend Gary Neville tweeted: “Ref is a joke!”

He added on ITV after the game: “I thought 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 is excuses – but he’s just a bad referee, rank bad.”

But England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV he wouldn’t criticise the referee.

“(It’s) pointless me going into that,” he said. “I’d rather talk about our players. Congratulations to France. They know they’ve been in a hell of a game. I don’t think we could have done any more.”

Kane puts pen into orbit at the death | 00:31

France opened the scoring in the blockbuster match through a long-range rocket from 22-year-old midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni. But England players furiously protested with the referee over a seemingly obvious foul at the other end of the pitch on their young forward Bukayo Saka.

At half-time, Australian great Mark Bosnich said on SBS: “I don’t think, I know (it was a foul), in my opinion anyway. He’s caught him, (Dayot) Upamecano has caught him, definitely. All the players stop. Here it is here. He nibbled, nibbled and then whacks him.

“The referee may not have been in a good position but the assistant referee was next to it. He should have stopped the play in my opinion, but the strike was a superb strike.”

Craig Foster agreed, saying: “I think it was a foul. It was pretty tight. A close call, but I would have given it. Upamecano has come into the back of Saka. And unfeeted him basically.”

England’s Gary Neville told ITV: “I think it is a simple decision … he’s nibbling, nibbling, nibbling and he’s kicked him. It should be a free-kick.””

Then, England fans were up in arms when Harry Kane’s leg was chopped at by Upamecano on the edge of the box, only for his penalty shouts to be denied.

It was reviewed by VAR (Video Assistant Referee), but no penalty was awarded – with replays appearing to show the foul was outside the box. But referee Wilton Sampaio should almost certainly have given a free-kick outside the penalty area (something VAR is not able to award trospectively).

Foster said: “It should have been given in the first instance. To me it’s clearly a foul. I say should have given it, at least for a freekick. But it was a foul but it was outside the box. In my view he hit him outside the box.

“It was clear on the replays here. Here he tangles with him and he’s tangled with the leg that is standing outside the box. Therefore, I don’t believe it should have been brought back for a penalty. It’s clear – he’s falling in the air, he’s not even in the box …”

Bosnich said: “That’s what we have to explain to everybody, they can’t bring it back for a freekick. I think they’ve seen it, it is a foul, no doubt about that but they can’t bring it back and say here’s a freekick. It’s because, they disallowed it because it’s outside the area.”

England was awarded two penalties later in the game – the first when Saka was scythed down in the box, and the second when Theo Hernandez needlessly barged Mason Mount to the ground in the box.

However, referee Sampaio still needed VAR to instruct him to award the latter penalty for what appeared a blatant foul.

Kane scored the first, but blazed the second well over the bar in a stunning miss.

But fans around the world were left stunned by Brazilian referee Sampaio’s actions throughout the game.

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