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Euro 2024: Virgil van Dijk says penalty decision ‘very difficult to make’ after Netherlands defeat to England

Gareth Southgate’s side were awarded a controversial penalty when Harry Kane came into contact with Denzel Dumfries.

The officials on the field initially waved off all protests, but VAR intervened to ask Felix Zwayer to go and look at the monitor.

He then reversed his decision, allowing Kane to score a decisive goal that turned the game on its head.

Van Dijk was mystified and told BeIN Sports: “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if I should say anything about this.

“I think it says it all that the referee walked in quite quickly after the game. I didn’t have time to shake his hand.

“But listen, it is what it is. The game is over. We lost. It’s very hard to take.

“Some moments it was obvious it should have gone our way. It didn’t. It’s always tough.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s just hard to accept this. I’m full of emotions. It’s been a very, very long year, a tough year.

“We had a big dream and we felt we could have achieved this as a team. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

The captain was also pressed about whether officials would be allowed to explain their decision-making.

“I don’t know,” he continued. “They keep changing some things. Small changes that can have big effects, but maybe it’s good that they can also be held accountable.

“Let them come here and talk to you and explain themselves in certain moments, like we have to explain ourselves when we do something wrong too. I think it can be something.

“But I shouldn’t talk about others. We have to look at ourselves and unfortunately we’re out.”

The Dutch were originally on course for a date with Spain in Munich on Sunday after taking a 1-0 lead through Xavi Simon’s early strike.

But their hearts were not only broken by Kane’s goal, but also by Ollie Watkins’ last-gasp winner.

Southgate: Big task to play against the best team in Euro 2024 with less day to prepare

Van Dijk added: “I think throughout the tournament we have seen so many sides of our team.

“Good sides in the attacking shape, the defensive shape some games. And also the bad side for us against Austria.

“But today was a good game. It was a good game for many reasons, with and without the ball.

“It was an intense game. They created good moments. We had good moments.

“But conceding a goal in the last minute is always hard to accept, especially when it’s a knock-out and a semi-final and it crushes our dreams in the last second of the game.”

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