Colombia team captain Radamel Falcao has accused American referee Mark Geiger of favoring England in the World Cup Round of 16 matchup between the two sides on Tuesday.
According to a USA Today report, Geiger presided over a particularly fiery affair that saw a total of 8 yellow cards and 36 fouls called. In the end, England put to bed its long-standing history of World Cup penalty shootout purgatory by winning the 1-1 draw 4-3 on penalties, moving them into a quarterfinal showdown with Sweden on Saturday.
Falcao said that Geiger even officiating the match was “peculiar.”
“I found it peculiar that they put an American referee in this instance,” Falcao said after the game. “To tell you the truth, the process leaves us a lot of doubts. He spoke only English. Some bias was certain…The referee disturbed us a lot. In the 50-50 plays, he always made the calls in favor of England. This situation was undermining us. He didn’t act with the same criteria for both teams.”
Criticism of Geiger, who works primarily as a referee in America’s Major League Soccer, went beyond what could be thought of as sour grapes. Oft-controversial Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona also lashed out at Geiger for awarding a penalty to England’s Harry Kane. He suggested Geiger was responsible for Colombia’s loss.
“I saw a monumental robbery on the pitch,” Maradona told Venezuelan television station Telesur. “I apologize to the Colombian people, but the players are not to blame as we don’t choose the referees. This referee may know a lot about baseball but he has no idea of football.”