Emi Martinez calls Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz ‘useless’ after the official gave out 16 bookings

Emiliano Martinez-Aston Villa

Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez has criticized popular Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz after the official gave out 15 yellow cards (and a red) in Argentina’s ill-tempered win over the Netherlands on Friday.

Lahoz was at the center of controversy for his role in the melee that ensued after the game, with an astonishing 14 bookings over 128 minutes. The Spanish ref gave out six yellow cards to the Netherlands players, eight for Argentina – plus a yellow card for Argentina assistant Walter Samuel and a red card for Denzel Dumfries. 

After the game, Martinez, who was the hero of the shootout by saving two penalties, praised his side for how they managed the game, yet criticised the referee for how his teammates handled the game.  

“It was a tricky game,” said Martinez via Sportsmail

“I thought we controlled the game really well. We went 2-0 up. Basically, we controlled the game. The referee was just giving everything to them. All of a sudden they get a good header, a good flick, which I couldn’t see and then it just turned upside down.

“The referee gave everything for them. He gave 10 minutes [added time] for no reason. He was giving free kicks outside the box for them, like two, three times. He just wanted them to score. That’s basically it. So, hopefully, we don’t have him that ref anymore. He’s useless.”

Meanwhile, Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni did not discuss the performance of the Spanish official, instead saying that his team were dragged into an “ugly game” by a Dutch team that surprised him with their aggressiveness.

“The game was heated,” admitted Scaloni. 

“But this was a quarter-final. And what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. Of course, we had 11 men. Leo [Messi] was a very important player, and he showed that he is the best of all times and we are happy that he is on our side.”

“They played in a way I didn’t expect from them. But each team, each coach, decides how to play. I won’t speak about their football philosophy, but in truth, in the second half, it was an ugly game.

“We had no chances, and it was frequently interrupted, but they are allowed to play how they wish.”