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Harry Kane gifted suspect penalty by ref who took bribe

For the most part, Euro 2024 has been a lovely display of exhilarating soccer. After referee Felix Zwayer awarded Harry Kane an extremely dubious penalty on Wednesday, we will probably not have the same discussion about England’s semifinal match with the Netherlands.

You see, Zwayer has a rather unfortunate history for someone officiating one of the biggest games in soccer. We’re talking about the worst kind of history for any sports referee. In 2005, Zwayer confessed to match-fixing by taking a bribe from another official to favor a German domestic club in a match.

He was appropriately banned from refereeing for six months but … he’s still working now. Oof.

After seeing Kane get a penalty shot from Zwayer for kicking a prayer ball in the air with Denzel Dumfries defending him, questions about the ref fixing the match will likely reach a fever pitch should England advance to the 2024 Euro Final.

Seriously, on what planet is any of that worthy of a penalty shot?

The explanation is that Dumfries kicked Kane and impeded him from getting a quality shot off. But the replay makes it pretty clear that Kane made more of a strike at Dumfries and that Kane’s attempt looked more like a Hail Mary attempt than an obvious open crack at the goal. Sure, it’s a bang-bang play, but in no just universe should Kane have been able to get England on the board for this weird sequence.

This was the soccer equivalent of giving a receiver a pass interference call on an uncatchable ball.

As for why someone might want to fix the match for England, well, they’re one of the tournament favorites!

Entering this semifinal match, oddsmakers with BetMGM had England heavily favored to at least make the Final this Sunday in Berlin.

You connect the dots as to why there would be rightful concerns about match-fixing after seeing this questionable Kane penalty shot.

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