Argentina might find themselves in big trouble ahead of their semifinal clash against Croatia as FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings on Lionel Messi-led side following the misconduct during the quarterfinal clash against the Netherlands.
The quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands was absolute chaos with the match referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz flashing out the yellow card a total of 17 times. Players and support staff from both teams were seen losing their cool more often than not with the match going down the wire. After Argentina beat the Dutch 4-2 in a penalty shootout, Messi criticized the on-field referee saying he was not up to the level.
“I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you, but we were scared before the game because we knew what was coming [with Mateu Lahoz]. I can’t say what I think, but FIFA have to look at this. [FIFA] cannot put a referee like that on this game when he is not up to the level,” said Messi.
Now, FIFA has taken cognizance of the matter and has started its investigation against Argentina for breaching article 12 and 16 which deals with the Misconduct of players and officials and Order and security at matches respectively.
But will Lionel Messi miss the clash against Croatia if found guilty? Apparently not. Notably, Team misconduct charges are routine for collecting five yellow cards in a game and disciplinary cases were opened against both Argentina and the Netherlands, FIFA said. Both federations could get the same 15,000 Swiss francs fine ($16,000) that FIFA’s disciplinary panel imposed twice on Saudi Arabia at this World Cup for team misconduct.
Talking about Argentina, they already have lost Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna as these two have been suspended by FIFA for receiving two yellow cards before the last-four showdown.