Wilton Sampaio: England v France referee could be handed World Cup final

Referee Wilton Sampaio could be chosen to take charge of the World Cup final despite heavy criticism for his performance in the quarter-final between England and France.

The Brazilian is one of the few officials asked to be in Qatar for the final four games of the tournament.

Sampaio infuriated England fans by failing to award the Three Lions a free-kick for a foul on Bukayo Saka that could have prevented the opening goal in France’s 2-1 defeat. He also failed to call David Appimecano’s trip on Harry Kane on the edge of the penalty area, although by such a good margin, VAR would not have overturned a decision if the spot-kick had been awarded.

He later awarded England two penalties, although he needed VAR to intervene in the second incident even though it appeared clear at first glance that Mason Mount had been obstructed by Theo Hernandez.

England and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was particularly critical of Sampaio, saying: “Really poor, very poor. One, five, six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not a single yellow card.

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“For me it’s wrong to score the first goal against Bukayo. [for the first goal]. I can’t really go into detail on how bad his performance really was. I don’t want to go into too much because I’ll get fined, but it was really bad.

“His decisions throughout the game, not just the big decisions. The big decisions were wrong, he never gave us anything, but he was really poor throughout the game.”

Antonio Mateo Lahoz, who took charge of the quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands, has been sent home, as has England player Michael Oliver.

Oliver’s Premier League team-mate Anthony Taylor remains in Qatar, and will be one of the referees competing with Sampaio to take charge of the World Cup final.

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