England’s fairy tale run at Euro 2020 has been defined by two controversial refereeing decisions in the final moments of its semi final victory against Denmark.
The Three Lions were left stunned in regulation when Harry Kane, with the full time whistle just minutes away and scores at 1-1, went down in the box and was controversially not awarded a penalty despite fair claims to one.
But that disappointment for England quickly became a distant memory in the first half of extra time as the referee pointed to the spot – this time for an apparent foul on Raheem Sterling who charged into the box and fell after vague contact with the Danish defence.
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VAR ticked off the decision and Kane went on to score off the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel saved his initial spot kick.
The goal sent Wembley into raptures but, as the dust settles, the decision to award Sterling a penalty has come back into sharp focus.
“It’s a blatant dive,” said former German international Didi Hamann. “I think it’s a disgraceful decision.”
“No one knows who gave away that penalty,” Socceroos legend John Aloisi said on Optus Sport. “Was there enough contact? I don’t think there was .. in my opinion, it wasn’t a penalty.”
Mark Schwarzer added: “I didn’t see any touch whatsoever. Raheem Sterling obviously did well to milk the contact … I think it was really harsh on Denmark.”
England went on to win 2-1 to book a spot in Monday’s (5am AEST) final against Italy for a chance to win its first ever European Championship.
Earlier, Kane went down in the box after a challenge from Christian Norgaard but a free-kick though was awarded to Denmark – even after a VAR check.
“That’s a penalty, Stuart Pearce said on talkSPORT. “VAR will hide behind the referee’s on-field decision.”