When VAR was introduced a little over two seasons ago the main objective was to cut out the refereeing human errors that decide important games. The rate of errors has generally gone down save for a few minor debatable decisions. When referee Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot upon Raheem Sterling hitting the deck in the box 13 minutes into extra time, I was certain the VAR will play its part. No contact on Sterling a clear dive and dare I say yellow card to the Man City man for simulation. As it turns out VAR ratified the ref’s decision, not even a pitch side review for that matter. Home town decision? Yes. Referee at fault? No. The action happens sometimes too fast for the naked eye. VAR useless? Absolutely. It was as if they were afraid of disappointing somebody. Nevertheless the actual soccer was enthralling. Damsgaard at last scoring from a direct free kick, the first of the tournament. The days of bend it like Beckham are surely long gone in the game of soccer.
England never panicked to going behind and if they were to come back it always had to involve Harry Kane. The 150 million quid rated striker’s pass to Saka made that equalizer possible. Man of the match performance from Hojbjerg, Kane’s club mate. He matched Phillips if not surpass him in terms of blade of grass covered in this game. The downfall for the Danes was that they retreated into a defensive shell far too early in extra time. If they had been as adventurous as they have been in the first half in making more plays in the England box they would have had something to smile about. The issue with England is why they don’t start with Jack Grealish. The Villa man clearly is a creative force, maybe Southgate doesn’t believe he is a 90 minute guy. English defense deserve credit. They were flawless on the night with Maguire and Stones hardly making errors. Sunday is the biggest match in English soccer for 55 years as they will look to break their Euro duck. The Italians will not be pushovers, they themselves will want to banish disappointments of the last few years. Let’s hope referees and politics(notice how conveniently Wembley is allowed to be full when the Three Lions Play, and two Euro semi finals on the same venue come on) don’t interfere with a great game.