Pepe slams 'unacceptable' referee as Portugal exit World Cup
Pepe has slammed referee Facundo Tello following Portugal's World Cup exit, claiming "it is unacceptable for an Argentine to referee the game."
Fernando Santos' side bowed out in the quarter-finals after becoming Morocco's latest victims; Youssef En-Nesyri's first-half header enough to seal a 1-0 win at Al Thumama Stadium.
The Atlas Lions, who have also beaten Belgium and Spain in Qatar, are the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals, though Pepe was left enraged by the performance of Argentine referee Tello.
This comes less than 24 hours after Lionel Messi heavily criticised Spanish official Antonio Mateu Lahoz following Argentina's shoot-out victory over the Netherlands.
"It is unacceptable for an Argentine to referee the game. I am very sad," he said in quotes reported by O Jogo.
"There were 90 minutes in which they always wanted to stop our game with little fouls - the referee did not give a yellow card, did not call attention.
"After yesterday, with Messi talking, an Argentinian comes and whistles. In the second half, nothing was played, there were only eight [additional] minutes.
"We were always on top. They were lucky enough to score a goal. We worked well and did a lot to win the game."
However, Santos refused to blame Portugal's elimination on Tello, insisting the official did not have a negative influence on his nation's display.
"He could have called fouls in a few plays, but generally speaking, I do not think so," the head coach said during his post-match press conference.
"I think we could have done more, and we failed to do so. I don't think we should blame the referee, it does not make sense. There were a few plays, but honestly, I do not think that's the way to see it."