Euro 2020: England told to stop giving lectures about diving after cheap penalty
While England exulted, there was increasing outcry abroad over the penalty awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling in extra time.
An array of media and football figures joined Danish fans in condemning the penalty as too cheap for such a big game, some saying England’s haughty views on diving looked hypocritical in view of Sterling’s tumble at the lightest of touches.
“They always say how bad it is when a foreign player tries to deceive the referee with a dive. In pure English football, this does not happen. Apart from, of course, in a European Championship semi-final,” said Spanish newspaper Marca.
“It would be nice for English football to stop giving lectures to the rest of the continent about diving.”
The speedy and swerving Sterling, who has been accused of diving before in England’s Premier League, went over in the box after minimal contact from Denmark’s Joakim Maehle.
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot and upheld that after briefly consulting the video assistant referee, though without reviewing the move on the pitch-side monitor.
“This was a soft penalty for me ... far too cheap a penalty for a Euro semi-final,” ex-referee Jonas Eriksson, who officiated at Euro 2012 and 2016, said on Swedish network SVT.
Sterling himself said after the game it was a clear penalty with his leg clipped. But former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now Fifa’s head of global football development, was among those doubting.
“In a moment like that it’s important the referee is absolutely convinced it was a penalty. It was not clear enough to say ‘yes it is’. He should have at least had a look at the screen,” he said on Qatari network beIN Sports.
Roma manager Jose Mourinho went further, telling radio station Talksport, “For me, it’s never a penalty” though he said the best team won.
“It’s diving home,” tweeted Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri in a sarcastic reference to England’s football anthem “It’s coming home.”