Portugal manager Paulo Bento believes Pepe was sent off against Germany because of his reputation.
Portugal had a bad day at the office as they were thrashed 4-0 by a clinical German side in their opening game of their world cup campaign. Germany were dominating the game even before Portugal had 11 men on the pitch, but things got worse after the dismissal of Pepe.
The Real Madrid defender, who has a history of madness on the football pitch, produced another of those moments which questions his sanity as a footballer. Thomas Muller, Germany’s hat-trick hero on the day, went down under a challenge from Pepe and although Pepe had the option to play on, he decided to turn around, bend down and head-butt the Bayern Munich forward.
Referee Milorad Mazic pulled out his red card and issued Pepe’s marching orders. Any slim hope of a Portuguese comeback ended with that red card and it almost became a training ground session for German after that.
Portugal manager Paulo Bento was unhappy about the refereeing decisions, first to award the penalty kick to Germany and then to dismiss Pepe for that incident. Bento felt that Pepe’s reputation influenced the decision.
“These were the two things that seemed to show bias and they were both decisive,” he said.
“The penalty was forced and I don’t know if (Pepe) was sent off because of his reputation.
“I’m not saying it was the referee’s fault only. We did make mistakes, not only in our defence but also in the sharpness of our attack.
“We’re going to have to analyse this game in depth,” he said.
“Of course, we’re very disappointed. We tried a few things in the second half, but the game was already lost by then.
“There was nothing more we could have done. Apart from the first five minutes, we were just not in the game.” – The Portugal manager said after the match.
Things got from bad to worse for Portugal during that game. Pepe will now face suspension, whereas left back Fabio Coentrao was substituted in the second half with a bad injury. The Real Madrid defender is likely to unavailable for Portugal in this tournament. There are also doubts about the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, who struggled on the pitch against Germany. Paulo Bento will have to rally his troops now, to come back from his demoralising defeat and make their way back into the tournament.