England penalty leaves Lee Dixon ‘astonished’ as VAR debate sparked on ITV in Euros semi | Football | Sport

Harry Kane controversially equalised for England against the Netherlands in Wednesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final after a VAR penalty decision that left ITV commentator Lee Dixon “astonished.”

Xavi Simons profited from a lapse of concentration by Declan Rice in midfield to drive forward and drill a stunning strike past Jordan Pickford from range after seven minutes.

But German referee Felix Zwayer handed England a penalty around 10 minutes later after a clash between Kane and Netherlands defender Denzel Dumfries inside the box.

Bukayo Saka had produced a menacing run into the area from the left before his deflected strike fell to an awaiting Kane.

The England captain blazed his strike high over the bar but immediately went down in pain under a challenge from Dumfries.

Replays showed that the 28-year-old clipped him with his studs as he attempted to block the ball, but there was no suggestion that it was being considered as a foul.

However, Dixon, Ally McCoist and Sam Matterface produced a stunned reaction from ITV’s commentary booth as a note emerged on the screen stating that VAR was checking for a potential penalty.

After a brief review, Zwayer was instructed to go to the pitchside monitor before quickly pointing at the spot, much to the confusion of viewers and ITV’s commentators.

What wasn’t surprising was Kane making no mistake from the spot, firing low into the bottom corner to pull England level in the 18th minute.

In scoring his third goal of Euro 2024, the 30-year-old became the joint leader in the race for the Golden Boot alongside a host of players, including the Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo.

Kane also equalled Alan Shearer’s record for the most goals scored for England at the European Championships, netting his seventh.

England produced an impressive response to the Netherlands’ early lead, showcasing their best 45 minutes of the tournament so far in the first half.

Kobbie Mainoo left viewers drooling with another assured performance alongside Rice in midfield, repaying Gareth Southgate’s faith.

Phil Foden has endured a disappointing tournament but came alive at the Westfalenstadion, causing the Dutch defence all sorts of problems and striking the post with an audacious effort.

But the Netherlands fired a warning of their own as Dumfries almost earned vengeance for the penalty decision by hammering a header against the crossbar.

A daunting task against Spain – boasting a 100 per cent record – in Sunday’s Berlin final awaits the winner in Dortmund.

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