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Days After Lionel Messi Questioned His Ability, Referee Sent Home From World Cup: Report

Just days after Argentine superstar Lionel Messi said Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz should not have officiated Argentina’s heady shootout victory over the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the World Cup at Lusail Stadium, reports suggest Lahoz has been sent home from Qatar and that he will not feature in any of the remaining four matches of the tournament. According to a report in the Mirror, after several complaints against the referee, it has been decided that he will no longer participate in the tournament.

After they got the draw, I felt a lot of anger,” said Messi. “I don’t want to talk about the referee because they give you a reprimand or a penalty right away, but I think people saw what happened.

“FIFA needs to review that. It can’t give such a referee a match of this importance if they’re not up to the task.”

He added: “We didn’t play a great game, and then the referee sent it to extra time. He was always against us. In the last game it wasn’t a foul.”

Mateu Lahoz showed a total of 16 yellow cards, with Dutch full-back Denzel Dumfries sent off for a second yellow after the penalty shootout.

Messi had scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the 73rd minute from the spot after an earlier assist for Nahuel Molina’s opener.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero and saved the Netherlands’ first two penalties before Lautaro Martinez struck the winning kick.

“We didn’t want extra time or penalties,” said Messi. “We suffered too much because of how everything happened, but it’s the quarter-finals of a World Cup.

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“We knew how to suffer when it was our turn, but we are through to the semi-finals. It is beautiful, something impressive.”

(with AFP inputs)

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