Euro 2020 Final

England face probe for laser shone at Schmeichel

Harry Kane about to take England's extra-time penalty, which Denmark custodian Kasper Schmeichel saved before Kane scored from the rebound for the winning goal. Schmeichel had a laser pointed at his right side just before the spot kick.
Harry Kane about to take England's extra-time penalty, which Denmark custodian Kasper Schmeichel saved before Kane scored from the rebound for the winning goal. Schmeichel had a laser pointed at his right side just before the spot kick.PHOTO: REUTERS

LAUSANNE • Uefa charged England on Thursday after a laser pointer was aimed at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in England's Euro 2020 semi-final win.

Photos in the British press showed the green light of a laser being pointed at Schmeichel's face just before Harry Kane's extra-time penalty.

The Dane saved the spot kick but Kane scored from the rebound.

"I didn't notice it during the penalty kick because it was behind me on my right side," said the Leicester City goalkeeper.

"But I noticed it in the second half. I told the referee and I think he went out and told one of the other linesmen."

Some supporters at Wembley - there was a crowd of almost 65,000 - also booed during the Denmark national anthem.

European football's governing body said it had charged England for "use of laser pointer", "disturbance caused during the national anthem" and "lighting of fireworks" by their fans.

The England captain's winning goal gave Gareth Southgate's men a 2-1 victory which put the Three Lions in their first major tournament final for 55 years.

But the awarding of the penalty prompted an outcry.

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 Raheem 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 pitchside monitor.

"This was a soft penalty for me ... far too cheap a penalty for a Euro semi-final," former referee Jonas Eriksson, who officiated at Euro 2012 and 2016, said on Swedish network SVT.

"I am mostly surprised and annoyed that the VAR doesn't tell the referee. This decides which team goes through."

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" even though the Portuguese said the best team won and he was happy for England.

"They won with a penalty which was a blatant dive," fumed former Germany player and pundit Dietmar Hamann. "England always prides itself on being the home of fair play and no diving."

Elsewhere, France's L'Equipe newspaper said England had breached the Danish defence only with "a questionable, not least generous, penalty", while in Italy - England's opponents in Sunday's final - Gazzetta dello Sport said "it's a shame they get these little bits of help, because they don't need it".

"It's diving home," tweeted Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri in a sarcastic reference to England's football anthem It's Coming Home.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2021, with the headline 'England face probe for laser shone at Schmeichel'. Subscribe