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You don’t slander an England penalty shootout win and not face the consequences. This is what former Argentine legend Diego Maradona discovered this week.
After calling England’s comeback during a thrilling spot kick battle with Colombia, Maradona didn’t quite think the Three Lions deserved any praise.
His annoyance concerned the awarding of Harry Kane’s first-half penalty by referee Mark Geiger, after the English striker was bundled over by Carlos Sanchez. But Maradona didn’t quite agree with the decision.
“Today I saw a monumental robbery on the pitch… a fatal mistake for a whole country,” he said, according to Reuters.
“Here’s a gentleman who decides, a referee who, if you Google him, shouldn’t be given a match of this magnitude… Geiger, an American, what a coincidence.”
Yeah, and that’s insulting an American on Independence Day too, no less.
After the comments, England fans took to Twitter to scream at the former striker in fervent 280-characters.
“To be fair, nobody knows that genre of football theft better than Mr Maradona,” wrote Piers Morgan.
To be fair, nobody knows that genre of football theft better than Mr Maradona. https://t.co/V5lSCvU9gy
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 4, 2018
Diego Maradona has stated Colombia were victims of a “monumental theft” in their World Cup last-16 defeat to England. pic.twitter.com/m51AaOI1Fy
— bet365 (@bet365) July 4, 2018
Maradona: “England win a monumental theft” pic.twitter.com/KpKb5rFNdx
— Joshua Shepherd (@joshgshepherd) July 5, 2018
Even FIFA itself joined in.
“FIFA strongly rebukes the criticism of the performance of the match officials which it considers to have been a positive in a tough and highly emotional match. Furthermore, it also considers the additional comments and insinuations made as being entirely inappropriate and completely unfounded,” the organisation wrote in a statement.
“FIFA is extremely sorry to read such declarations from a player who has written the history of our game.”