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Virgil van Dijk rips into England vs Netherlands ref after digging out | Football | Sport


Virgil van Dijk rips into England vs Netherlands ref after digging out | Football | Sport


Virgil van Dijk didn’t hold back with his assessment of referee Felix Zwayer following the Netherlands’ Euro 2024 semi-final exit against England.

The Dutch opened the scoring in the first half, but their lead was quickly cancelled out when England were awarded a penalty.

It was a decision that split opinion, with Harry Kane deemed to have gone done easily under a tackle from Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries.

The equaliser sparked England into life. Phil Foden came close twice shortly after, before substitute Ollie Watkins netted a dramatic winner in added time to send the Euro 2020 runners-up through.

But Van Dijk wasn’t pleased with the referee after the game, commenting: “I don’t know what I should say, I don’t know if I should say something about this. I said it outside to our Dutch media, it says it all that the ref went in quite quickly after the game and had no time to shake his hand.

“It is what it is, the game is done, it’s very tough to take. Certain moments it’s obvious that it [decisions] should’ve gone our way, it didn’t. I don’t know what to say, it’s difficult to accept this.

“It’s been a very long year, a tough year. We had a big dream and we felt like we could’ve achieved it as a team, unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

When pressed on the rules surrounding penalty decisions, the Liverpool skipper replied: “They keep changing so many things, small changes that could have big impacts.

“Let them [the referees] come here and explain themselves, like we [the players] have to do when we do something wrong. I think that might be something.

“I shouldn’t speak about others though, but we have to look at ourselves.”

The Netherlands had served up an on-the-whole impressive Euro 2024 campaign, with few expecting them to reach the last four before a ball was kicked last month.

However, they were soundly beaten by England in the end, with Van Dijk admitting he and his team-mates will have to reflect on their own individual errors.

Commenting on the Dutch performance, Van Dijk said: “Throughout the whole tournament we’ve seen so many sides of our team. Good sides in the attacking form, the defensive form… but today was a good game.

“But to concede a goal in the last minute is always difficult to accept, especially when it’s a knockout, in a semi-final, shattering our dreams in the final game.”

That Watkins strike booked England’s spot in their second consecutive European Championship final and their first-ever at a major tournament on foreign soil.

Gareth Southgate and co. will face Spain on Sunday, with England eyeing up a maiden Euros win in the German capital.

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