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Netherlands’ Ronald Koeman claims soccer is ‘destroyed’ after controversial Euro 2024 VAR call


Netherlands’ Ronald Koeman claims soccer is ‘destroyed’ after controversial Euro 2024 VAR call

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman is fuming over a controversial first-half penalty in his side’s 2-1 loss to England in the 2024 European Championship semifinals and blamed video assistant referee (VAR) for “destroying” soccer. 

It was an equalizer in the 18th minute of the match that led to the bitterness from the coach, as Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries was called for a VAR-reviewed penalty. 

Dumfries caught England’s Harry Kane on the follow-through of his challenge after Kane had already sent his shot over the crossbar. 

Ronald Koeman, Head Coach of the Netherlands, reacts during the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-final match between Netherlands and England at Football Stadium Dortmund on July 10, 2024 in Dortmund, Germany. Getty Images

No call had been originally made, but referee Felix Zwayer was then advised to check on the play by VAR. 

After being awarded the penalty kick, Kane buried the shot to even the score at 1-1. 

Ollie Watkins scored the game-winning goal for England in stoppage time in the second half to propel the team into the final.

“This is not a penalty,” Koeman told reporters following the match, according to ESPN. “His only intention was to block a shot. Harry Kane then shoots and their feet collide. 

Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk reacts as referee Felix Zwayer looks on. REUTERS

“Football is getting destroyed by these type of decisions by VAR. This penalty would not have been given in England. What should you do as a defender? I thought the referee whistled for a lot of silly things, but that’s not why we lose.”

Koeman wasn’t alone in his questioning of the call either, with former England defender Gary Neville seeming to agree with Koeman’s complaints over the call. 

The ITV analyst called the decision “disgraceful.” 

Referee Felix Zwayer checks the Video Assistant Referee screen and England are awarded a penalty following the review, after Denzel Dumfries of the Netherlands (not pictured) is adjudged to have fouled Harry Kane of England. Getty Images

“There’s no way that was a penalty. He just goes in naturally to block the shot. It’s not a penalty for me,” he said on the network, per the BBC

Alan Shearer, a former striker for England, said on BBC Radio that he didn’t question the contact, but argued that Dumfries was “trying to block the ball.”

“The follow-through from Harry Kane makes the connection and I didn’t think it was a howler to be turned over,” he added. 

England’s forward Harry Kane scores his team’s first goal from the penalty spot. AFP via Getty Images

England will face Spain in the tournament final on Sunday.

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