England vs Serbia referee was 'a disaster' at World Cup and helped Lionel Messi win trophy

Lionel Messi and Italian referee Daniele Orsato at the 2022 World Cup (Image: Getty)

The referee for England’s opening match at Euro 2024 was labelled “a disaster” during Argentina’s march to World Cup glory. Respected Italian official Daniele Orsato will be the man in the middle as Gareth Southgate’s side begin their Group C campaign against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen.

It is a farewell tournament for the 48-year-old, who is retiring from top-level officiating this summer. Orsato has already bid an emotional goodbye to the club game, getting a guard of honour and a standing ovation after taking charge of his final match, Atalanta vs Fiorentina in Serie A.

However, the plaudits were in short supply after he oversaw the World Cup semi-final between Argentina and Croatia in Qatar. Lionel Messi and Co cruised through to the final with a 3-0 win, with the maestro setting the ball rolling with a first-half penalty before a brace from Julian Alvarez.

However, the Croatians were left fuming by the award of the spot-kick, with assistant coach Mario Mandzukic being sent from the dugouts for his protests. After the match, Croatia talisman Luka Modric ripped into Orsato, branding him “one of the worst” and “a disaster”.

The Real Madrid star blasted: “Argentina were a fair winner of the match, they were better, they deserved to win, but these things have to be mentioned, I generally don’t do them, but today they have to be done.

”I don’t like to talk about referees, but this is one of the worst. I don’t have a good memory of [Orsato], he’s a disaster. For me, it wasn’t a penalty.


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Luka Modric leads the protests after Daniele Orsato awarded Argentina a penalty (Image: Getty)

“Despite this, I don’t want to detract from Argentina. The penalty killed us. We have to recover for third place and win that match.”

While Modric and Croatia will disagree, Orsato is regarded as one of the top officials in Europe, taking charge of the 2020 Champions League final between PSG and Bayern Munich. More recently, he oversaw the Champions League semi-finals second leg between PSG and Borussia Dortmund.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1911598/england-serbia-referee-messi-modric-euro-2024