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Schmeichel targeted with laser pen and second ball adds to England controversy

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was targeted with a laser pen while a second ball was on the pitch in the build-up to England ‘s controversial, and ultimately decisive ,extra-time penalty in their Euro 2020 semi-final triumph.

Although Schmeichel initially saved Harry Kane’s 104th-minute spot kick, the Three Lions captain tucked home the rebound to send Gareth Southgate ‘s side into the final and Wembley Stadium into pandemonium.

Raheem Sterling was deemed to have been fouled during a dangerous drive into the penalty area, with the Danish defence having to deal with a second ball near where the incident took place.

Denmark had taken the lead in the 30th minute through Mikkel Damsgaard’s outstanding free-kick before England struck back nine minutes later through a Simon Kjaer own goal.

As the end of the first period of extra-time approached, Three Lions talisman Sterling picked up the ball on the right flank and slalomed his way into the box, where he went down as opposition midfielder Mathias Jensen and wing-back Joakim Maehle closed the Manchester City speedster down and made a small amount of contact.

Danny Makkelie blew for a penalty to Danish anger, only for VAR to ratify the Dutch referee’s original decision.

Kane placed his strike to the right and scored the rebound after the Leicester City goalkeeper went the right way – but fumbled the ball to allow England’s main marksman to make it 2-1.

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was targeted by a laser as Harry Kane stepped up for the penalty

However, television replays showed a green light flicking around Schmeichel’s eye line, leading to widespread condemnation, regardless of how it affected Schmeichel.

Former Three Lions midfielder Stan Collymore tweeted : “If anyone shone a laser pen at Schmeichel, they want banning for life.”

Sterling’s fall itself caused enough controversy, with the winger telling ITV post-match: “I went into the box and he [Maehle] stuck his leg out and touched my leg, so it was a clear penalty.”

A second ball was in play when Raheem Sterling began dribbling at the Danish defence
A second ball was in play when Raheem Sterling began dribbling at the Danish defence

“Mark Clattenburg, though, who took charge of the 2016 European Championship final, told the Daily Mail : “I don’t think the tackle warranted a spot-kick in such a key moment.

“The Danes will argue it was harsh. But again it wasn’t a clear and obvious error.”

Kasper’s father, Peter, fumed on BeIN Sports by saying: “[The referee] made a really big mistake on the penalty.

“This will be debated for a long, long time.”

The Euro ’92 winner added: “In a way, it’s a hard one to take because it’s not a penalty.”

Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger agreed with Schmeichel senior by stating: “No penalty. I don’t understand why in situations like that the VAR, the referee doesn’t go and look on the screen.

“In a moment like that, he has to be absolutely sure.”

Do you believe it was a penalty? Comment below.

Former Republic Ireland international Roy Keane stated on ITV: “I don’t think it’s a penalty… very, very soft.”

Ex-Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville also admitted: “If we’re being fair, you’d be absolutely devastated if you lost to a penalty like that.”

Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand told members of the media post-match that he felt “bitter” about exiting the tournament, declaring post-match: “It was a penalty which should not have been a penalty.

“It is something which annoys me right now. We are very disappointed,” he continued.

“You cannot pass by the ball on the pitch which has so much influence on the game.”

The 49-year-old lamented: “It’s a bitter way to leave the tournament.

“The way we lost makes it harder to understand why we lost. I have to be careful with what I say.”

As for the second ball, there is no definitive rule for such a situation.

Although officials usually stop play in accordance with the laws of the game if two balls are on the pitch while play is going on, they are permitted to use their discretion and ignore the ball if it is not interfering with play.

Southgate and co will be hoping for a less controversial victory when they face Italy in Sunday’s final, again at Wembley.




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