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European Championship 2024: “Shameful decision” or a “reckless” tackle? The controversial Harry Kane penalty causes a stir

It was a hotly contested moment in Wednesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final when England were awarded 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 brought down by Denzel Dumfries.

The England captain smashed a shot over the bar but was injured after making contact with Dumfries, who caught him on the follow-up.

When Zwayer was instructed to watch his monitor, Lee Dixon – on ITV’s co-commentary service – said he would be “surprised” if a penalty was awarded.

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

“Kane gets his shot off, his momentum follows him,” Unkel said.

But the penalty was awarded and Kane dispatched a spot-kick to equalize for England 11 minutes after a superb Xavi Simon strike had given the Netherlands the lead.

“I’m happy, 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,” Dixon said.

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 English players claiming it either.”

But Ian Wright felt the right call had been made.

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

Neville shot back: “We all go crazy. If someone thinks it’s ruthless, honestly… We’ve conditioned ourselves in the game where we think it’s ruthless and we think it’s a penalty.”

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