Football might as well be coming home after all but not without its fair share of controversy as veteran managers Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger slammed VAR for mismanaging the extra-time penalty decision at Wembley.
England progressed to the final of the 2020 European Championship after getting past Denmark in a hard-fought match at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
Mikkel Damsgaard scored a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards to send Denmark into the lead, but an own goal from Simon Kjaer meant that scores were level in regulation time.
The match went into thirty additional minutes of extra time. There was more drama to follow when England were awarded a soft penalty after Raheem Sterling was brought down by Danish defenders.
The Denmark players surrounded the referee to plead their case, as they felt Sterling had gone to the ground too easily. Footage showed that there was not a lot of contact from Joakim Mæhle. But VAR surprisingly agreed with the referee’s decision, who felt that it was enough to award England a defining spot-kick.
Unluckily for the Danes, they would bow out of the tournament after Harry Kane tapped in the rebound from his scuffed penalty attempt.
England booked their place in the final, but the crucial refereeing decision left a sour taste in the mouths of football fans and pundits alike.
Both Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger led a united front in condemning the decision. The Portuguese claimed ‘it was never a penalty’ on Talksport whereas the Frenchman bemoaned that ‘VAR had let the referee down’ during his appearance for Bein Sports.
“It was NEVER a penalty!”— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 7, 2021
“Especially at this level, the semi-final of a Euro. I don’t understand the decision.”
José Mourinho says England should NOT have been given their penalty v Denmark. pic.twitter.com/MKiEYk6K12
Uncle Arsene has spoken about the penalty pic.twitter.com/uDgsWK3mqy— A Bergkamp Wonderland *An Arsenal Podcast (@TheAFCPodcast) July 7, 2021