Referee Danny Makelie was criticised for his decision to hand England a penalty in extra-time
Referee Danny Makelie was criticised for his decision to hand England a penalty in extra-time

England qualified for their first final since 1966 with a dramatic 2-1 win over Denmark at Wembley.

The Danes took the lead in the first half thanks to a stunning free-kick from Mikkel Damsgaard.

But England found parity after an own goal from Simon Kjaer before Harry Kane scored the winner in extra-time.

The result sparked wild scenes of celebrations up and down the country as Gareth Southgate’s side moved one step closer to ending 55 years of hurt.

On the continent, however, the reaction was very different, with many pointing to the controversial awarding of England’s penalty in extra time.

Kane was handed the chance to put the Three Lions in front when Raheem Sterling was felled in the box by Joakim Maehle.

Replays showed contact was minimal, but VAR opted to stick with Danny Makkelie’s on-field decision.

“English football can stop lecturing the rest of the continent about diving,” Marca’s report read.

“Always going on about how frowned upon it is when a foreigner tries to trick the referee. In pure English football, it’s not done. Except in the semi-final of the Euros that is.”

The Spanish publication issued a blistering response to England’s victory, suggesting that their treatment throughout the tournament has been “suspicious”.


“If dust had arisen over the facilities that the organization of this tournament meant for England, who on their way to winning the title will only have to face one match away from their Wembley, the one that played in Rome against Ukraine in the quarter-finals (4-0),” Marca’s report continued.

“And that, in addition, with the prohibition of entry into the capital to foreign fans due to the restrictions of the pandemic, have made many believe that a red carpet has been laid for them.

“Of course, it had already been known for months and no one raised their voices.”

They also referred back to Makkelie’s mistake in the build-up to the tournament when he failed to award Cristiano Ronaldo a valid goal during Portugal’s World Cup qualifier vs Serbia.

Ronaldo looked to have scored an injury-time winner with his shot clearly going over the line, only for the referee to cut short celebrations.

Marca wasn’t the only publication to try and put shade on England’s achievements, with Denmark’s TV2 doing similar.

On their website, they ran a poll about Sterling’s penalty, with 92 per cent voting that it should not have been given.

“That sort of thing destroys a match in a minute. It’s irritating and frustrating,” Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand said. “It’s is hard — especially the way we were knocked out. It’s a shame for the boys and bitter for us.”

Regardless of the reaction, England will compete for the Euros on Sunday, where they will hope to make even more headlines.