VAR Referee That Gave England Controversial Penalty Will Be Working The Euro Final
Italians, look away now. The refereeing line-up for the Euro 2020 final has officially been announced, and it includes one official whose decisions during the England v Denmark semi-final proved more than a little bit controversial.
UEFA have confirmed that Pol Van Boekel, the VAR referee who upheld referee Danny Makkelie’s decision to award England a penalty during extra time on Wednesday, will be performing the same role again at this Sunday’s final, despite claims he should have overturned the crucial call.
England were given the penalty in the first half of extra time after Raheem Sterling went down under challenges from two Danish defenders, however, the decision sparked instant debate among pundits and fans alike, with many accusing Sterling of taking a dive.
VAR – which has been largely unpopular since it was first introduced three years ago, but has caused relatively few issues during this tournament – took a look at the decision, but Van Boekel decided that there was no ‘clear and obvious error’ made by Makkelie.
Kane stepped up and slotted away the rebound after his initial shot was saved by Kasper Schmeichel to give England a 2-1 lead.
While subsequent replays showed that there was contact on the back of Sterling’s leg, it’s probably fair to say that most England fans themselves would admit they’d be angry if a similar decision had gone against them.
Speaking to ITV, Sterling said he ‘felt contact,’ and believed it was ‘definitely a penalty,’ but former England striker Alan Shearer disagreed, saying on Match of the Day ‘there’s a little touch, but I’m not sure there’s enough. It was very soft. I’d be pretty angry if that was given against us.’
Ultimately, football is an unfair game, and as host and England’s joint record tournament goalscorer Gary Lineker pointed out, plenty of wrong decisions have gone against England in tournaments gone by.
At the 2010 World Cup, for example, England had a clear goal ruled out against Germany when the referee failed to realise the ball had gone over the line, while Maradona’s iconic ‘Hand of God’ goal should have been ruled out for an obvious handball.
But that hasn’t stopped some people from accusing Van Boekel and the refereeing team from ‘fixing’ the game for England, with a petition started after the match even calling on the game to be replayed.
England will take on Italy in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley this Sunday, July 11.
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