FIFA World Cup 2018: Maradona lashes out at England-Colombia’s match referee
Diego Maradona has claimed Colombia were victims of a “monumental robbery” in their World Cup round-of-16 defeat to England.
Colombia lost 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Geiger awarded a penalty to England after Carlos Sanchez was adjudged to have brought down Harry Kane. Although, Colombia levelled through Yerry Mina’s stoppage-time header.
Maradona told Telesur:
“The penalty was not a penalty — it was a foul by Kane. Why didn’t he use VAR? I’m reeling because when I spoke to [FIFA president Gianni] Infantino the first time, everything had changed at FIFA: the thieves had left, the fixes, everything,”
“And today I saw a monumental robbery on the pitch. I apologise to the Colombian people, but the players are not to blame as we don’t choose the referees. The referees are chosen by [Pierluigi] Collina, who was appointed by Infantino to change the new FIFA from thieves and fixers, and today we saw the opposite — an old and fixed FIFA,” he added.
Maradona also said he was surprised Geiger had been chosen for the match. Earlier in the tournament, Morocco’s Nordin Amrabat alleged that Geiger had asked for a Portugal player’s shirt. At the 2014 World Cup, then Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi criticised the official for making “a lot of mistakes” in a defeat to France.
“This referee may know a lot about baseball but he has no idea of football,” Maradona said. “It’s very clear to me, Geiger, an American, how curious that he was the one who invented a penalty for Brazil [in a 1-1 friendly draw against Colombia in 2012], that Nigeria accused him at FIFA.”
Maradona also criticised England coach Southgate, saying: “I didn’t understand how England wanted to play.
“As a coach, for me to replace [Raheem] Sterling [with Jamie Vardy] and then bringing in [Eric] Dier [in place of Dele Alli] … that was insane. It favoured Colombia,” he concluded.
Saif Ahmed Chowdhury
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