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World Cup 2022: Referee Mateu Lahoz Sent Home After Messi’s Outburst
- The referee who was in charge of the Argentina vs the Netherlands game has been sent home
- Antonio Mateu Lahoz became highly unpopular with both teams during a feisty World Cup game
- Argentina captain Lionel Messi sharply criticized the Spanish referee who was also in charge of the 2021 Champions League final
Controversial referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz has reportedly been sent home following a tempestuous World Cup game that he officiated.
Lahoz was in charge of the Argentina clash vs the Netherlands on December 9th and was on the spot for making dubious decisions.
The Spanish referee handed out a total of 15 yellow cards in a game that was constantly punctuated by rising flares from both teams.
Messi slams Lahoz
Despite Argentina sealing progression to the semifinals, Lionel Messi was uncharacteristically critical of him after the game.
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"I don't want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened," he said as quoted by Daily Mail.
"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"
COPE now reports that Lahoz has been sent home and won't take part in the remaining four games in any capacity. He is part of the referees who have been released from duty.
It should be noted that his sending back home might not be related to the Argentina game. However, fans online have been quick to say that Messi may have gotten his wish after all.
Argentina players facing sanctions
Sports Brief had earlier reported that Argentina could be facing the FIFA hammer following the melee that occurred in their World Cup quarterfinal victory against the Netherlands on Friday, December 9.
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FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against the South American champions for its players' actions in the match that had 18 yellow cards issued by the centre referee.
The football governing body cited “order and security at matches” in its disciplinary code for charging the Argentina football federation.
Messi vs Van Gaal
At the same time, Messi was incensed with Netherlands Head Coach Louis Van Gaal after a highly tempered World Cup quarterfinal match.
Argentina beat the Netherlands on post-match penalties to set up a semifinal date with Croatia, but the game was marred by ugly confrontations.
Nahuel Molina and Messi had put Argentina on their way with a goal in each half only for Wout Weghorst to score a late brace to restore parity. Argentina's goalkeeper Emi Martinez saved two spot-kicks to help his side go through.