Lionel Messi was irate over the officiating in Argentina’s penalty shootout win over the Netherlands on Friday, criticizing referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
The game featured 16 yellow cards, multiple scraps between the two teams, a late tying goal from the Netherlands and multiple controversial moments.
“After they got the draw, I felt a lot of anger,” Messi said. “I don’t want to talk about the referee, because they immediately reprimand you or sanction you, but I think people saw what happened.
“FIFA has to review that. It can’t give a referee like that a match of this importance, when they’re not up to the task.”
Messi was especially upset at the call leading to Wout Weghorst’s equalizer, which came from a free kick after German Pezzella committed a foul. That tied the score 2-2, setting up a dramatic 30 minutes of extra time.
Referee Antonio Mateu shows a yellow card to Argentina’s Lionel Messi during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina.
“We didn’t have a great game, and then the referee sent it to extra time,” Messi said. “He was always against us. In the last play, it was not a foul.”
Argentina eventually pulled out the win on penalties, with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saving two spot kicks from the Dutch. Lautaro Martinez scored the penalty winner, with Messi notching an assist and a goal from open play.
We didn’t want extra time or penalties,” Messi said. “We suffered too much because of how everything happened, but it is the quarterfinals of a World Cup.
“We knew how to suffer when it was our turn, but we got through to the semifinals. It’s beautiful, something impressive.”