This is Papa’s unvarnished opinion. It was impossible to report in a more measured manner about this match.
It was a sad way for England to progress in Euro 2020. They had been playing some of their best football for decades. But in the end, they could not pull it off on their own. They needed an assist from Dutch referee Danny Makkelie.
Not only did England play all of its group games and a combined five out of six Euro 2020 matches at home in Wembley Stadium, but they also needed an officiating gift to defeat Denmark in their semifinals match to progress to the finals against Italy, at, you guessed it, Wembley Stadium, London, England.
But one has to assume 55 years between tournament finals had to come to an end one way or another. So why not do so with a gift, at home, and in a pandemic year. It was so surreal maybe others will forget, right? Hardly!
With the score tied at 1-1—both goals scored by Denmark, a spectacular free-kick by Mikkel Damsgaard at the 30th minute and an own goal by Simon Kjaer at the 39th—and with the teams playing extra time, at the 103rd minute, Raheem Sterling took the ball into the Danish box and then took a dive Danny Makkelie, bought—hook, line, and stinker.
Harry Kane stepped up to take the awarded penalty and shot poorly, to Kasper Schmeichel’s left. The keeper saved the shot but spilled the rebound directly at Kane who slotted it home from close range with Schmeichel on the ground.
England 2-1 Denmark, with a Danny Makkelie assist.
If you tried to get a glimpse at the called-penalty-play on ESPN’s post-match highlight reel, you were out of luck, the play did not show up, only the penalty was shown. Wow!
Fortunately, the game was simultaneously broadcast by TUDN whose commentators were universally certain VAR would overrule the call as, they said, “It was obviously not a penalty but a dive. There was no contact. Makkelie will amend his call.” Amen!
As the game was being broadcasted Twitter erupted and most folks were having none of it. Even esteemed Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger, now FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, could not get his head around the call.
It was a shameful end to a game that had a lot going for itself and deserved better. Certainly, the Danes deserved better, they did not lose this match, it was stolen from them.