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Diego Maradona Says Colombia Were Victims Of 'Theft' In Referee Rant

Diego Maradona Says Colombia Were Victims Of 'Theft' In Referee Rant

England and Colombia played out one of the scrappiest World Cup games we've had for a while as things often threatened to boil over between the two sides and the referee.

The Three Lions were given a penalty when Carlos Sanchez manhandled Harry Kane and sent him tumbling to the ground at a corner, something that is becoming a running theme of the tournament.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Colombia were also lucky not to be a man down at the end of the first half when Wílmar Barrios clearly headbutted Jordan Henderson, who made a lot of it, but got away with a yellow.

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England nearly gave as good as they got and they certainly weren't completely innocent in all the niggly fouls and roughhousing that went on.

However Diego Maradona took it a lot further by full on blaming the English on Argentine television and claiming the ref was to blame for a great 'theft'. He also blamed the UEFA Head of Referees Pierluigi Collina for giving the game to American Mark Geiger.

"I saw a monumental theft," he said. "I apologise to all the Colombian people, but they must know the players are not to blame.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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"It is the man who decides who the referee is who is to blame. A man like that [Geiger] should not be put in charge of a game of that magnitude.

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"With all due respect, Pierluigi Collina, as the man who designates the referees, he is very bad. He must apologise to the Colombian people.

"I told (FIFA president) Gianni Infantino that if I worked for FIFA I would change everything. It has to be transparent. That's why I didn't go there.

"The referee will know a lot about baseball, but he has no idea about football. The Colombian players asked for VAR and he did not give it to them.

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"Twice the English threw themselves to the ground and he did not admonish them. This was theft."

Maradona has been a big presence at the World Cup, here he is swearing at Nigeria fans. Image: PA Images
Maradona has been a big presence at the World Cup, here he is swearing at Nigeria fans. Image: PA Images

I'm not one to go on about the past all the time, especially when it's before my time (and most of yours) but this is the man who literally punched the ball into the net on his way to winning the World Cup in 1986.

Geiger may not have had a great game in the fact he seemed to lose control of the match at times, failed to send Barrios off and let the Colombians complain for a long time about the penalty.

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However generally the American official did a good job and it's difficult to fault too many of the big decisions.

Words: Ryan Sidle

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: Football News, Colombia, Football, Diego Maradona, England, World Cup

Ryan Sidle

Ryan is a writer for SPORTbible. He covers all sport from football, formula one, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics, mma and wrestling. He obviously hates YOUR football team and has no interest in synchronised swimming.