Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘VAR breaks football’: Koeman angry at England penalty in Euro 2024 semi-final

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Ronald Koeman criticised the penalty award that brought England an equaliser in the Netherlands’ Euro 2024 semi-final defeat, saying that proper football is finished if that is regarded as a foul.

Harry Kane scored from the spot after the video assistant referee recommended to Felix Zwayer that he use the pitch-side monitor to reassess Denzel Dumfries’s attempt to block a shot by the England captain. Dumfries right boot crashed into Kane’s just after the striker had connected with a shot that went over the bar.

“As a former defender myself, what could he do in that position?” Koeman said. “He tried to block the ball … To penalise that is to tell him we cannot play properly football.” The Netherlands head coach also said: “I think that we cannot play properly football and this is due to VAR. It really breaks football.”

Denzel Dumfries’s right boot crashes into Harry Kane’s, leading to the England penalty that brought them level with the Netherlands. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

His captain, Virgil van Dijk, called on Zwayer to explain his decision and believes the referee knew he had made an error by the way he handled himself at full-time. “I don’t know what to say,” Van Dijk told beIN Sports. “I don’t know if I should say something about this … I think it says it all that the referee went in quite quickly after the game. I had no time to shake his hand. But listen, it is what it is. The game is done. We lost and it’s very tough to take certain moments.”

The Liverpool defender suggested referees should face the media. “Let them come here and speak to you guys and explain themselves in certain moments, like we have to explain ourselves when we do something wrong as well. I think that might be something but I shouldn’t speak about others, we have to look at ourselves, and unfortunately we are out.”

Koeman took positives from his team’s performances across the tournament. “We should be proud because we’ve achieved many things in these weeks and there’s no criticism after seeing how my player fought until the end,” he said.

“We have fought like lions. We just needed a little more balance and the English team did it better than us, so congratulations to them.”

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