Fans’ inappropriate behavior dampens England’s semifinal glory

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A laser light on Kasper Schmeichel's face during their semifinal against England

London: England’s semifinal celebrations were cut short after UEFA charged the Three Lions over a laser pointer reportedly from the English stands aimed at Danish custodian Kasper Schmeichel during a Euro 2020 semifinal penalty shootout on Wednesday.  

The incident happened after England were awarded a controversial penalty on the 103rd minute after English forward Raheem Sterling was fouled by Joakim Maehle inside the box. Both teams were locked 1-1 at that time.

As England skipper Harry Kane was getting ready to take the spot-kick, television pictures showed a green light just beside Schmeichel’s face in an attempt to blur his vision. Schmeichel saved the spot-kick but Kane scored the rebound as England won 2-1 to reach Sunday’s final against Italy.

The penalty itself caused an immense controversy as replays showed two balls present on the pitch at the same time. The incident was ruled out by referee Danny Makkelie as there were no such rules in football’s constitution. But the laser pointer brought in immense criticism from the experts as well.

Former England star Stan Collymore tweeted: “If anyone shone a laser pen at Schmeichel, they want banning for life.” Mark Clattenburg, who was in charge of the 2016 Euro final, told Daily Mail: “I don’t think the tackle warranted a spot-kick in such a key moment. The Danes will argue it was harsh. But again it wasn’t a clear and obvious error.”

Legendary Peter Schmeichel and also Kasper’s father raved on BeIN Sports saying: “(The referee) made a really big mistake on the penalty.”This will be debated for a long, long time. In a way, it’s a hard one to take because it’s not a penalty.”

Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand told media post-match that he felt ‘bitter’ about exiting the tournament. “It was a penalty which should not have been a penalty. It is something which annoys me right now. We are very disappointed,” he said. 

“You cannot pass by the ball on the pitch which has so much influence on the game. It’s a bitter way to leave the tournament. The way we lost makes it harder to understand why we lost. I have to be careful with what I say,” he added.  

Meanwhile, England were also charged with causing a ‘disturbance’ during Denmark’s national anthem and setting off fireworks. There was some booing heard during the Danish national anthem and that has been criticised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman.

“The case will be dealt with by the Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) in due course,” said a statement from European football’s governing body. “We don’t want fans to be booing teams,” said the spokesman. “We want fans to be showing support and being respectful.

UEFA has charged England under:  

  1. Use of laser pointer by its supporters – Article 16(2)(d) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR)
  2.  Disturbance caused by its supporters during the national anthem – Article 16(2)(g) DR
  3.  Lighting of fireworks by its supporters – Article 16(2)(c) DR

Another statement issued by UEFA stated: “Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark (2-1), played on 7 July at Wembley Stadium, London.”

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