England vs France referee could be handed World Cup final

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

The Brazilian has been one of the few officials asked to remain in Qatar for the final four games of the tournament.

Sampaio enraged England fans by failing to award a free kick to the Three Lions for a foul on Bukayo Saka that would have prevented France’s opening goal in their 2-1 defeat. He also failed to call a trip by Dayot Upamecano on Harry Kane on the edge of the penalty area, though with the margins so fine, VAR may not have overruled a decision if a spot kick was awarded.

He did award England two penalties later on, although he needed VAR to intervene on the second incident even though it looked clear-cut from the first viewing that Mason Mount was impeded by Theo Hernandez.

England and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was especially critical of Sampaio, saying: “Really poor. Very poor. From minute one, five, six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not one yellow card.

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“For me it’s a foul for the first goal on Bukayo [for the first goal]. I can’t really go into explain how bad his performance really was. I don’t want to go into too much cause I’ll end up getting fined, but it was really really poor.

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

Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who took charge of the fiery quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands, has been sent home, as has Englishman Michael Oliver.

Oliver’s Premier League colleague Anthony Taylor has remained in Qatar, though, and he will be one of the referees competing with Sampaio to take charge of the World Cup final.

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