Following his controversial decisions in the heated Argentina vs. Netherlands match for the Qatar World Cup quarterfinals, Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz has reportedly been released from the tournament while the game’s VAR officials will still be given the option to participate in future competitions.
The game which has been coined the “Battle of Lusail,” ended 2-2 in extra time and was ultimately decided in a penalty shootout which Argentina ultimately claimed the victory (4-3). During the match, the La Liga referee issued a record of 18 yellow cards and one red.
At one point in the game, midfielder Leandro Paredes kicked the ball into the Netherlands bench with Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk responding by bumping him into the ground, resulting in multiple bookings as the game seemed to spiral out of control. By the end of the competition, two of Argentina’s coaching staff were given cards and three players were booked during the penalty shootouts.
In a post-match interview, Argentina captain Lionel Messi expressed his frustration and asked FIFA to look into the issue.
“I don’t want to speak about referees because they will sanction you. But people saw what happened. I think FIFA must take care of this. It cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance. The referee cannot fail to be up to the task,” he said.
FIFA has also announced that Argentine referees Fernando Rapallani and Facundo Tello will not be given any more matches for the rest of the tournament due to a conflict of interest as Argentina advances to the semis.
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