REF WATCH: Dutch referee Felix Zwayer faces scrutiny after English doubts

REF WATCH: Dutch referee Felix Zwayer faces scrutiny after English doubts

It took 16 minutes for the angry villagers who had spent the last two days stewing to swap their pitchforks for popcorn. Penalty to England. Soft, too, considering Denzel Dumfries was only doing what a defender should do. 

Thanks, Felix Zwayer. We never doubted you. Honest. The pressure on the 43-year-old from Berlin, Germany was palpable on Wednesday night. 

There was the anger that followed his appointment by UEFA as the referee once implicated in a match-fixing scandal, and the awkwardness of a reunion with Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion – the very stadium where England’s midfielder highlighted Zwayer’s history after a 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich, a jibe for which he was fined €40,000 (£33,843). 

Bookmakers had Bellingham listed as their favourite to be carded last night, and a contact at Oddschecker said the 21-year-old was accountable for 15 per cent of all card bets placed via their website as tipsters told their followers to lump on him at 3/1 before those odds worsened (and worsen they did as kick-off approached).

Bellingham was indeed booked after lunging into a 50-50 with Stefan de Vrij – a tad harsh in truth – but England had already earned a grander favour from Zwayer by that stage. 

There was plenty of controversy surrounding referee Felix Zwayer ahead of England’s semi-final against the Netherlands, with the official previously involved in a match-fixing scandal

Jude Bellingham (left) previously called out the referee during his time a Dortmund and was booked by Zwayer after lunging into a 50-50 with Stefan de Vrij - a harsh decision in truth

Jude Bellingham (left) previously called out the referee during his time a Dortmund and was booked by Zwayer after lunging into a 50-50 with Stefan de Vrij – a harsh decision in truth

Neville agreed that the Netherlands were hard done by at half time

Kane's penalty was awarded after a VAR check

Former England international Gary Neville labelled the decision as ‘disgraceful’ at half time

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The referee did not award the penalty in real time. It was VAR Bastian Dankert who sent him to his screen. Was the initial decision clearly and obviously wrong? Probably not. Harry Kane kicked Dumfries, who was trying to stop the shot. 

Gary Neville described it as a ‘disgraceful decision’, and that’s a former England international talking. There will be few complaints from these shores for that call. If anything, it is the Dutch who will be marching with torches after that decision.

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