The decision to award England a penalty on Wednesday night, after Raheem Sterling went down in the box, has been controversially dissected by the football world.
To the surprise of literally no one, Peter Schmeichel believes it shouldn’t have been awarded, whilst Sterling got support from the unlikeliest of sources.
Whether the likes of Jose Mourinho like it or not, it was awarded as a penalty and subsequently Gareth Southgate’s men booked their place to face Italy, but the Italians aren’t too happy.
Gazzetta dello Sport have claimed that the penalty was only given as a favour from UEFA to Boris Johnson, for his part in ending the European Super League.
The paper claimed the penalty decision “confirms the suspicions of a return of favour” to the Prime Minister in an article that now seems to have been deleted.
Gazzetta dello Sport piece says the “generous penalty” awarded to England “confirms the suspicions of a return of favour” to Boris Johnson for his role in stopping the Super League threat to UEFA. https://t.co/ej9d2xX70v
— Simon Evans (@sgevans) July 8, 2021
During the Super League’s extremely brief spell as a notion earlier in the year Johnson was extremely against the idea and came out in public to say so.
The 57-year-old even claimed he was going to drop “a legislative bomb” in order to stop the competition going ahead, before the English teams eventually backed out.
No doubt that would have pleased UEFA, who were also against Europe’s elite clubs from breaking away, and the Italians aren’t the only ones peddling the conspiracy theory.
Spanish outlet Marca had their own take on things, with Pablo Lopez writing an opinion piece saing, “We have the impression that UEFA would not be sad about England managing to win the European Championship.
“…But last night’s penalty has curled all suspicions. If we exonerate [referee, Danny] Makkelie because we understand that it is a penalty on the pitch, if we forget all the swimming pools starring Sterling – a true specialist in these circumstances – and if we stop to read the protocol of the VAR, then the Danes have been screwed.
|One of the host nations having their fans in the ground seems to have annoyed rival fans. Image: PA Images|
“But if we look at the play, Maehle’s very slight touch to the English forward can never be a penalty. Please…”
Lopez then added, “VAR yesterday did not deliver justice. It is unfortunate that in extra time of a European Championships semi-final a team can feel cheated with an action that is clearly avoidable.”
His initial theory that UEFA wanted England to win the tournament was based on the Three Lions playing six of the seven games in the tournament at Wembley.
No team has won the Euros with home advantage since 1984 and no World Cup winners have been at home since 1998, both coincidentally France, so it’s far from a guarantee that being at home equals success.
Featured Image Credit: PA