- Maradona claims the referee helped England qualify at the expense of Colombia
- The Argentine legend said the penalty awarded to Harry Kane was unjustifiable
- England won the match on penalties after playing out a 1-1 draw in regulation time
Argentina legend Diego Maradona has accused England of theft after Gareth Southgate's side meted out justice to Colombia's hatchet men, Mirror reports.
Maradona insisted the Three Lions got the backing of FIFA to qualify into the last eight of the World Cup.
In a blistering attack on Argentine TV, he claimed that American referee Mark Geiger was out of his depth, that referees' chief Pierluigi Collina should apologise to the Colombian nation for appointing him.
And the penalty given for Carlos Sanchez's grapple with England captain was a foul instigated by Harry Kane.
Daft Diego said: “I saw a monumental theft. I apologise to all the Colombian people, but they must know the players are not to blame.
“It is the man who decides who the referee is who is to blame. A man like that (Geiger) should not be put in charge of a game of that magnitude.
“With all due respect, Pierluigi Collina, as the man who designates the referees, he is very bad. He must apologise to the Colombian people.
“I told (FIFA president) Gianni Infantino that if I worked for FIFA I would change everything. It has to be transparent. That's why I didn't go there.
“The referee will know a lot about baseball, but he has no idea about football. The Colombian players asked for VAR and he did not give it to them.
“Twice the English threw themselves to the ground and he did not admonish them. This was theft.”
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Jose Pekkerman's side had six bookings including Wilmer Barrios, who was lucky to escape a red card for his first-half headbutt on Jordan Henderson.
Kane both won and converted the 57th minute penalty from which England took the lead in the second half.
However Colombia forced the match into extra-time thanks to Yerry Mina's 90th minute header before England prevailed in the penalty shoot-out.
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“The referee is looking somewhere else and when he turns his head, Kane is on the floor.
“Kane used his arm to hook Sanchez and then threw himself down.
“I repeat, why didn't the referee ask for the VAR? Colombia died standing. That's why I applaud them.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported Diego Maradona has offered to coach Argentina for free after their failure at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
His desire comes eight years after the 57-year-old and former Napoli star coached Argentina at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
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