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08th Jul 2021

Wenger says ‘VAR let referee down’ for England penalty

Charlie Herbert

“He must have a look at it.”

It’s the moment that everyone is talking about and will surely go down in English footballing folklore. Up there with “did the ball cross the line in the 1966 final,” we can now put “was it a penalty in the 2021 semi-final.”

If you’re English, it’s a classic soft-but-you’ve-seen-them-given scenario. If you’re not English, it’s the worst refereeing decision of the tournament.

Arsene Wenger has had his say on the matter, and he was in no doubt about whether it should have been given or not. The Frenchman’s main bone of contention though, was with the fact that the referee wasn’t even sent over to the monitor by VAR to have a look at the incident.

Speaking on beIN Sports as a pundit, the former Arsenal manager said: “No penalty, I don’t understand why they don’t ask the referee to have a look at it.

“In a moment like that, it’s important that the referee is absolutely convinced that it was a penalty. It was not clear enough to say: ‘yes it is,’ and at least he should have had a look on the screen.

“I don’t know why the VAR didn’t ask him to go. For me, it was no penalty, no. I think that VAR has let the referee down, not Denmark. Denmark is a bit unfortunate.

“I understand that it’s difficult for the referee, but he must have a look at it.”

I’ve got to admit, he probably has a point here. It’s difficult to argue that it was an obvious enough penalty for it to not require a check by the ref on the monitor.

But the fact of the matter is, it wasn’t checked. It was given. It was scored (sort of). And England’s place in the final is set in stone.