'Lost his guide dog': World Cup referee's Wikipedia page edited as England exit

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AL KHOR, QATAR - DECEMBER 10: Referee Wilton Sampaio is protested by Jude Bellingham and Mason Mount of England after a possible penalty incident leading to the video assistant referee review during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Shaun Botterill - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Referee Wilton Sampaio is protested by Jude Bellingham and Mason Mount after a possible penalty incident. (Getty Images)

England fans appeared to be behind several changes to the Wikipedia page of the referee in charge of France's quarter-final win over Gareth Southgate's side.

Wilton Sampaio came in for criticism following several contentious decisions in the first-half of England’s nerve-shredding 2-1 defeat to the World Cup holders on Saturday night.

Read More: Rice and Maguire back Gareth Southgate to stick with England

The Brazilian official was put in charge, despite the controversial penalty he awarded to Saudi Arabia earlier in the tournament.

And England fans took no time in editing the main official’s Wikipedia page, listing the referee as having “lost his guide dog”, as well as being termed as a “Brazilian cheat”.

“Please return dog if found, the dog has a match to ref,” the Wikipedia page read.

Another 'biographical' line read: "Wilton Pereira Sampaio is a French fan and a Brazilian football referee.

AL KHOR, QATAR - DECEMBER 10: Jordan Henderson of England and Referee Wilton Sampaio interact during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

"He is currently under investigation for falsely not awarding a penalty to England after Harry Kane was assaulted."

The comments, which can be edited online, were later taken down.

Sampaio, who was part of the VAR team at the 2018 World Cup, had not previously overseen any internationals involving England or France.

The official also received a barrage of criticism from players and pundits, as France set up an encounter with surprise semi-finalists Morocco.

AL KHOR, QATAR - DECEMBER 10: Harry Kane and Phil Foden of England confront referee Wilton Pereira Sampaio during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Alex Pantling - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)
Harry Kane and Phil Foden of England confront referee Wilton Sampaio. (Getty Images)

“Really poor. Very poor,” Harry Maguire said of the 40-year-old's performance. “From minute one, five, six fouls in the first 15 minutes, not one yellow card.

“His decisions throughout the game, not just the big decisions. Even the big decisions were wrong, he never gave us anything, but throughout the game he was really poor.”

Team-mate Jude Bellingham added: "Anyone can have a bad game, players and referees, but I think he wasn't where he should have been today in terms of the level for a game like this."

Meanwhile, BBC presenter Gary Lineker took to Twitter to write: “One of these days, just once, we might get a decision in our favour.”

Referee Wilton Sampaio rebukes England's Jordan Henderson during the FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Picture date: Saturday December 10, 2022.
Referee Wilton Sampaio rebukes England's Jordan Henderson during the World Cup quarter-final match (PA)

Following a penalty decision which didn't go England's way in the opening half, fellow former England international Ian Wright weighed in with: “It is very difficult to see that not given, especially in the current climate what they give fouls for.”

Read More: Kylian Mbappe caught laughing at Harry Kane

In the aftermath of defeat, England players also backed Southgate to carry on as England coach.

Maguire added: “I’m sure if you asked every player in the team they wouldn’t be able to speak highly enough of him, his man management, the way that this team has been built and developed over a period of time.

“Over the last five or six years with Gareth in charge you can really see the development. I know being an England manager is so tough, they get every decision they make scrutinised, every squad they make, ‘he should be in’ or ‘he shouldn’t be in’. Every team he picks, ‘he should play’ or ‘he shouldn’t play’… that is being an England manager.”

Watch: Gutted England fans in Qatar react to World Cup knockout