SportsShould The Referee Have Awarded England's Penalty Against Denmark?

Should The Referee Have Awarded England’s Penalty Against Denmark?

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July 08, (THEWILL) – The second semi-final of the ongoing Euro 2020 played on Wednesday night is generating a refereeing debate about the deciding goal and whether or not the penalty decision that led to the goal was a proper call by the referee with questions hanging around the referee, Danny Makkeli’s decision not to review the footage.

In a captivating night of European football, the English national football team brought a nostalgic final qualification feeling to those who had waited 55 long years to see the Three Lions reach a major final since the 1966 World Cup. An injury time Harry Kane goal gave England victory over Denmark to qualify for a chance at lifting the trophy against Italy on Sunday.

In a first half for Gareth Southgate’s side that took a while to get going, Denmark’s Mikkel Damsgaard fired the Danes into a proper first-half lead with the sort of brilliant free-kick that a semi-final fixture deserved. It was the first goal the English were conceding since the continental competition began.


However, the unbowed England team picked up the pace and quickly got the game on level terms only nine minutes after going behind. The counter from pacy Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka through the right channel was converted to a goal when the 19-year-old’s cross was knocked into the net as an own goal by AC Milan centre-back Simon Kjaer.

The game remained at one goal apiece for the duration of normal time and necessitated going into extra time for two 15-minute periods. It was in the first of these that the goal which brought about the post-match debates was scored. The crux of the debates claim that Raheem Sterling went down to easily against Joakim Maehle.

The referee considered it a good enough justification to award a penalty and although Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel, who produced a masterclass on the night, kept out the initial penalty kick, the rebound fell mercifully for Kane, who did not miss a second time.

As a result, England scaled through for a Sunday final against Italy in Wembley. The plank of the debates this generated is that not only was it a soft penalty to award, Makkelie ought to have given the replay another look in the monitor before reaching a final decision to remove all doubts.

At such a point in the competition and in a match on its very last legs of extra time, it should be an undeniably maliciously intended infringement that will not require to be double-checked to make a consequential decision as Makkelie made in England’s favour on Wednesday night to the detriment of Denmark, who had toiled hard to come this far.

Slow motion replays confirm that there was the lightest of contacts before Sterling went to ground and the referee blew for the penalty by pointing to the spot immediately sparking the debate that resulted in questioning the English victory.

There has been a consensual appreciation of the use of video assistant referee (VAR) during the Euro competition but in one of the most crucial games of the entire period, the actions of the referee has threatened to undo all the goodwill VAR has won in trying to repair its damaged image since it was adopted for use.

THEWILL believes VAR is helpful and the knowledge at the back of the minds of players that their actions can be replayed and rewatched in high definition slow motion has curtailed the attempts to deceive match officials by their antics. But as Wednesday’s night result demonstrated, all the positives of the technology will not be fully appreciated until it is employed in its entirety, such as includes the pitch-side mounted monitor, which Makkelie did not consult.

As the debates rage on, it is worth mentioning that the Danish player Maehle bears some responsibility in the end. If he had not committed himself to the goal-bound Sterling enough to be there for the brush that the English forward exploited to their advantage, perhaps Schmeichel could have been good enough to prevent Sterling from scoring. And there could have been no penalty.

Yet, the minute he was adjudged to have downed Sterling, there was not much anyone could expect but a penalty.

In the end, the victory remains England’s and nothing of the debates about how it came about will matter because it cannot overturn what has happened. The Danes may feel hard done about the way they lost, being as they were so close to qualifying for the final, but the Three Lions did instead and will now prepare for a historic day on Sunday.

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