World Cup 2022: Pepe Boldly Blames Argentine Referee for Portugal Exit

World Cup 2022: Pepe Boldly Blames Argentine Referee for Portugal Exit

Rene Otinga
December 12, 2022 at 12:24 PM
  • Portugal’s veteran defender Pepe did not hold back in his criticism of referee Facundo Tello
  • The Selecao were stunned by Morocco, the first Africans to reach the World Cup semi-finals
  • Pepe was adamant the referee was out to 'disrupt' his nation's crunch quarter-final match

Portugal defender Pepe has come out to sensationally blame the match referee for his nation’s shock exit from the World Cup, at the hands of surprise packages Morocco.

Striker Youssef En-Nesyri scored the only goal of the game late in the first half, with a header which proved to be a historic one for the Atlas Lions - who became the first African country to reach the last four at the global stage.

The North Africans were second-best for most of the game, but the Selecao were guilty of not taking their chances and some poor finishing at times, as Bruno Fernandes and Goncalo Ramos came close.

Pepe, World Cup, Portugal, Morocco
Pepe of Portugal argues with referee Facundo Tello after the team's defeat during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter-final match against Portugal. Photo by Francois Nel.
Source: Getty Images

Pepe himself also had the chance to get a late equaliser, but his header went agonisingly wide.

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Morocco, despite going down to 10 men, did excellently to hold on to victory as they maintained an impressive record of having only conceded once in five World Cup games so far.

After the game, media caught up with 38-year old Pepe, who had nothing to lose now that Portugal was out of the competition.

In his post-match comments, the former Real Madrid man did not hold back as he called out referee Facundo Tello for what he termed as 'a tendency to constantly stop the game'.

According to Pepe, the fact that the game had so many stoppages made it difficult for Portugal to find their rhythm.

“I think what the referee did today is unacceptable; this is an Argentina referee and especially after what Messi said yesterday,” Pepe was translated as saying.

He claimed the constant referee stoppages meant the Selecao could not play in the second half.

“But what can we do now? We had a team that could win it all, but unfortunately it did not happen.”

Considering his age, this is possibly Pepe’s last-ever World Cup.

Ronaldo breaks down in tears

Elsewhere, Sports Brief reported on how Cristiano Ronaldo was inconsolable after Portugal’s World Cup exit.

Cameras panned to the 37-year old free agent at full time at the Al Thumama Stadium, and it was clear he was heartbroken by the exit.

Meanwhile, Morocco will take on an even tougher challenge in the form of France, with a spot in the Mundial final at stake.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
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