Euro 2024: ‘Disgraceful decision’ or a ‘reckless’ tackle? Controversial Harry Kane penalty causes a stir

There was a highly contentious moment in Wednesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final when England were given a penalty against the Netherlands.

Fans and pundits alike were stunned when German referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot in the 16th-minute after Karry Kane was upended by Denzel Dumfries.

The England captain flashed a shot over the bar but was hurt after connecting with Dumfries, who caught him on the follow-through.

When Zwayer was instructed to look at his monitor, Lee Dixon – on ITV co-commentator duty – said he would be “astonished” if a penalty was awarded.

Christina Unkel, ITV’s refereeing analyst for Euro 2024, admitted she was surprised the incident was checked “because it is not a clear and obvious error”.

“Kane is getting his shot off, his momentum is following him through,” Unkel said.

But the penalty was given and Kane duly dispatched the spot-kick to equalise for England, 11 minutes after a stunning Xavi Simons shot had given the Netherlands the lead.

“I’m pleased, don’t get me wrong but you have to challenge for the ball. I don’t think it’s a penalty but I don’t care,” said Dixon.

In his half-time analysis, Gary Neville called the decision a “disgrace”.

“I think it’s an absolutely disgraceful decision,” he added.

“He just goes in naturally to try and block the shot. It’s not a penalty for me, nowhere near a penalty and I don’t think there were many England players claiming for it either.”

However, Ian Wright felt the right call had been made.

“That was reckless. They’ve got VAR, they’ve got everything, they have given it. If that is anywhere else on the pitch you’d get a foul for it. His studs are up.”

Neville snapped back: “We’re all going mad. If someone thinks that is reckless, honestly… We have conditioned ourselves in the game whereby we think that is reckless and we think that’s a penalty.”

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