Diego Maradona has claimed Colombia were victims of a “monumental robbery” in their World Cup round-of-16 defeat to England, which Colombia lost 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
American referee Mark Geiger has come under intense scrutiny as Colombia feel as though he was biased for England during the match.
Geiger handed out a penalty to England after Carlos Sanchez was adjudged to have brought down Harry Kane, despite the fact that Colombia leveled through Yerry Mina’s stoppage-time header.
“The penalty was not a penalty — it was a foul by Kane,” Maradona said, according to Venezuelan TV station Telesur. “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.”
“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 …”
“England couldn’t find a way in, Colombia played how it could, with what it had, without James, without a creator,” he added.
“This is a fatal mistake for a whole country, who had lots of hopes of their team and feel let down.”
Maradona also took shots at England coach Gareth Southgate.
“I didn’t understand how England wanted to play” Maradona said (h/t ESPN FC).
“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.”