Van Dijk reveals what referee did that ‘says a lot’ about England decision that ‘destroys football’

Will Ford
Virgil van Dijk shouts referee Netherlands
Virgil van Dijk wasn't happy with the decision to award England a penalty.

Virgil van Dijk claims what referee Felix Zwayer did after the final whistle “says a lot” about his decision which Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman claims “destroys football”.

Ollie Watkins scored a stunning late goal to see Gareth Southgate’s side into the final against Spain after Harry Kane’s penalty cancelled out Xavi Simons’ early opener.

The Three Lions dominated the first half and were the better team across the game as a whole, but the penalty was a point of controversy, and led Gary Neville and Ian Wright to clash in the ITV studio.

Zwayer didn’t award the spot kick on field but changed his decision having been advised to look at the pitchside monitor after Denzel Dumfries caught Kane as he attempted to block the striker’s shot.

‘Destroys football’

Koeman said in his post-match press conference that it was the sort of decision that “destroys football”.

“What do you do as a defender?” Koeman said.

“This is not a penalty. Dumfries wanted to block the ball. Then the shoes collide. Such VAR decisions destroy football.”

👉 16 Conclusions on England 2-1 Netherlands: Watkins, subs, Mainoo, Southgate, *that* penalty and more
👉 Euro 2024 Power Rankings: England seal top-two spot but Spain remain favourites
👉 England player ratings v Netherlands: Watkins a national hero as Foden, Mainoo shine

‘That says a lot’

Virgil van Dijk, who was booked in the second-half for dissent after the referee failed to award the Netherlands a corner, also took aim at Zwayer, claiming what the official did after the final whistle was telling.

“The referee ran back inside straight after the full-time whistle, that says a lot,” Van Dijk said.

“I had no time to shake his hand. But it is what it is, the game is done, we lost, certain moments were obvious that they should have gone our way, but they didn’t, whatever the outcome.”

Asked about the penalty decision after the game, Kane said: “I don’t know but my foot was hanging off so he definitely caught me. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. I was happy to step up and to see it go in the net was a nice feeling for sure. I’m just happy to be through to the final.

“(Spain will be) an unbelievably tough game, really difficult, but we’re there, we’ve got to the final. It’s one more game to make history and that’s what we’re excited about. It’s been a tough journey.

“One more, 90 minutes, 120 minutes, penalties, whatever it takes we’ll be there and we’re looking forward to it.”