Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand expressed his disappointment and said that he simply could not fathom how a decisive penalty was awarded against his team in the 2-1 loss to England in the Euro 2020 semifinals on Thursday.
Raheem Sterling lost his balance following a challenge in the area by Denmark defender Joakim Maehle and then fell to the ground under pressure by Mathias Jensen in the first half of extra time.
A penalty was awarded and the decision stood following a video review. Harry Kane’s spot-kick was saved but he put in the rebound for the winning goal.
However, Sterling’s penalty was marred in controversy and his alleged dive in the box was far from the only dodgy aspect of England’s penalty.
Replays revealed that there was a second ball on the pitch. In fact, it was quite close to the sequence of play that resulted in the foul and eventual goal.
Social media was abuzz with fans questioning whether this passage of play should have been halted.
There appeared to be a second ball on the pitch during the play that Raheem Sterling won a penalty for England in extra-time. pic.twitter.com/U9y5BTv0ni
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 7, 2021
No contact. Two balls on the pitch. This is like Sunday league stuff. This refs at it 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/ASeOSuG1m4
— Jamie Ewings (@Jaz136) July 7, 2021
Adding to it, an unidentified fan from the stands tried to impair Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s vision during the penalty itself.
Replays of the spot-kick show a laser clearly being pointed towards the player’s eye as Kane was about to take his penalty.
However, the Dane did remarkably well to save the shot in those circumstances.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 8, 2021
What are the rules?
Should England’s penalty have stood with two balls on the pitch vs Denmark? The answer to it lies with the fact that whether the referee thought the additional ball affected the play at all.
Match official Danny Makkelie was well within his rights to stop the play and bring the move back to restart it with a drop ball. However, he chose not to.
The 2020/21 FIFA Laws of the Game state that if “an extra ball, other object or animal enters the field of play during the match, the referee must: stop play (and restart with a dropped ball) only if it interferes with play.”
Denmark scored first against England at Wembley Stadium, with Mikkel Damsgaard knocking in a free kick in the 30th minute, but were forced into extra time after an own-goal. Then Harry Kane put in the rebound of his saved penalty for the deciding goal.
Denmark had more than 15 minutes to equalize but the players appeared to be spent by that time. And the task was made more difficult when Jensen was forced off injured, leaving them to play with only 10 men for the second half of extra time after having already used up its six substitutes.
(With AP inputs)