'Rigged': Football world outraged by 'disgraceful' Euro 2020 farce

·5-min read
France were denied a late penalty after a clumsy challenge by Bruno Fernandes on Kingsley Coman. Pic: Getty
France were denied a late penalty after a clumsy challenge by Bruno Fernandes on Kingsley Coman. Pic: Getty

Football fans have flooded social media in disgust after a number of VAR controversies overshadowed the final pool game in the 'group of death' at Euro 2020.

France and Portugal both sealed their progression to the knockout stages after a 2-2 draw that was mired in controversy.

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Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines after scoring twice from the penalty spot to equal the all-time international goalscoring record - cancelling out Karim Benzema's two strikes for France either side of halftime.

Ronaldo's opening goal came in contentious circumstances after French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris came out to punch a lofted ball into the box, but instead caught Danilo Pereira in the face, leaving the Portugal midfielder needing treatment on the pitch.

While the penalty to Portugal was debatable, it was nothing compared to the decision to award France a spot kick in first half stoppage-time, after striker Kylian Mbappe went down in the area.

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz gave a penalty after Mbappe collided with Nelson Semedo while trying to get on the end of a pass into the box.

After a lengthy VAR check, the decision stood despite vociferous protestations from the Portugal players and outrage from fans.

Incredibly though the drama was far from over, with arguably the biggest controversy saved for the very end.

Benzema's second goal from a sumptuous Paul Pogba through ball put France ahead before Ronaldo's equaliser from the spot set up a grandstand finish.

France thought they had the opportunity to win the match in stoppage time, with what could have been an extraordinary fourth spot kick of the match when Kingsley Coman went down inside the box after a clumsy challenge from Portuguese substitute, Bruno Fernandes.

Angry backlash over contentious calls

The Manchester United star appeared to step on Coman's foot inside the box, but after another long VAR consultation the appeals were turned away, without the referee even being offered the chance to check the incident himself.

The series of controversial decisions sparked uproar on social media, with many disgruntled fans suggesting officials were happy with the draw that saw heavyweights France and Portugal both progress.

Portugal will face the world's top-ranked side Belgium in the first knockout round in Seville.

Fernando Santos' Portugal moved through as one of the four best third-placed sides, for the second straight Euros.

Portugal finished behind Group F winners France and runner-up Germany, who only just qualified after a dramatic 2-2 draw with Hungary in Munich.

"We did everything I wanted us to do (in the 4-2 defeat) against Germany," Portuguese coach Santos told RTP. "The result was clearly fair."

Pictured here, Portugal's Pepe appeals the decision to award a first half penalty to France.
Portugal's Pepe appeals the decision to award a first half penalty to France. Pic: Getty

World champions France will next take on Switzerland in Bucharest on Monday.

"It was a fight, it wasn't easy," France coach Didier Deschamps told TF1.

"We tried to win and at the end of the match, obviously, knowing the result of Germany, that allowed us to be first, which is the best place.

"I know very well that a new competition will be starting from the last 16."

with agencies

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