Diego Maradona says Colombia were victims of a “monumental robbery” against England and accused referee Mark Geiger of favouring Gareth Southgate’s side.
England booked their place in the quarter-finals of the competition with a win on penalties on Tuesday night.
They had earlier taken the lead from the penalty spot after Harry Kane was fouled by Carlos Sanchez and, although Colombia equalised late on through Yerry Mina, it was England who held their nerve on spot-kicks to progress to the last eight.
Maradona, who scored his ‘Hand of God’ goal at the 1986 World Cup, says Geiger should have penalised Kane in the build-up to England’s second-half penalty.
“Today I saw a monumental robbery on the pitch, a fatal mistake for a whole country,” Maradona told Venezuela-based channel Telesur.
“Here’s a gentleman who decides, a referee who, if you Google him, shouldn’t be given a match of this magnitude.
“Geiger, an American, what a coincidence.”
Maradona also criticised Pierluigi Collina, head of FIFA’s referee committee, for allowing Geiger to officiate the match.
“I’m just sorry for the whole Colombian people,” Maradona said. “I cheered Colombia’s goal as if I had headed it myself.”