Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Virgil van Dijk slams referee reaction after England beat Netherlands at Euro 2024

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Virgil van Dijk was furious with German referee Felix Zwayer (Allstar via Getty)

Virgil van Dijk hit out at the reaction of referee Felix Zwayer in the immediate aftermath of England’s win against the Netherlands in their Euro 2024 semi final on Wednesday evening.

England have reached the Euro 2024 final and will now play Spain at 8pm on Sunday after Ollie Watkins’ goal in the 90th minute sealed a 2-1 win against the Dutch.

The Netherlands took an early lead through Xavi Simons’ fine long-range strike but England were handed the chance to equalise after they were given a generous penalty decision.

England beat Netherlands to reach Euro 2024 final – as it happened

Denzel Dumfries attempted to block a shot from Harry Kane but ended up clipping the England captain on the foot. After a lengthy delay, the VAR team recommended referee Zwayer to review his decision and the German official opted to award Gareth Southgate’s side a penalty.

Kane stepped up to score from the spot to pull England level, leaving the Netherlands players and coaching staff furious with the call.

Harry Kane of England is seen after being tackled by Denzel Dumfries of Netherlands during the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-final match between Netherlands and England
England were given a generous penalty for a foul on Harry Kane (Getty)
Harry Kane of England celebrates after he scores his team's opening goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-final match between Netherlands and England
Harry Kane scored his penalty to equalise for England against the Netherlands (Getty)

Speaking shortly after his side’s defeat, Van Dijk claimed that Zwayer immediately left the pitch and says the German official’s reluctance to engage with the Dutch players and coaching staff after the full-time whistle ‘says it all’.

When asked about the performance of Zwayer, Van Dijk told beIN Sports: ‘I don’t know what to say, I don’t know if I should say something about this.

‘But I think it says it all that the referee went in quite quickly after the game, had no time to shake his hand.’

Asked the same question by Dutch broadcaster NOS, Van Dijk added: ‘But to blame it on that, I don’t want to do that either. I just don’t know what to say. It hurts a lot.’

Van Dijk also rued the Netherlands’ inability to punish England as they looked stronger as the second half progressed.

‘If you concede it so late in the match, then that is of course terrible,’ Van Dijk said.

Referee Felix Zwayer shows the yellow card to Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA EURO 2024 Semi-final match between the Netherlands and England
Pierre van Hooijdonk has called for referee Felix Zwayer to be ‘blacklisted’ (Shutterstock)

‘You put everything into it, everyone gives everything, and then when it falls like that in the last minute… that just sucks, sorry to say it like that.

‘You have more possession and want to punish the little moments that you get. It felt like we could make it 2-1. But that didn’t happen and now we’re standing here empty-handed.’

Meanwhile, former Netherlands striker, Pierre van Hooijdonk, has called for Zwayer to be stood down by UEFA after his nation’s Euro 2024 exit.

‘They can thank Felix Zwayer. He really needs to be blacklisted,’ Van Hooijdonk said. “Terrible.

‘Also in the second half. A duel with Cody Gakpo where he simply blew his whistle again, ten meters from the linesman. Those are moments that were crucial in this match.’

‘We can talk about it at length, but if you’re going to award a penalty for this. Then you could end up with eight of them on the spot in the final. Really terrible.’

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