Dutch football fury over semi-final loss to England

Sore loser Rafael van der Vaart CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons

Dutch media and broadcasters were enraged at losing to England in dramatic fashion at the Euros 2024 semi-final. 

They all but accused England of cheating their way through, and have called for the referee to be blacklisted. England’s last-gasp decider from Ollie Watkins sealed their route to the final against Spain on Sunday, but it did not come without controversy.

After opening their account after seven minutes with a scorcher from Simons that screwed into the top corner of the net, despite England keeper Jordan Pickford getting a hand to it, the Dutch were livid when Harry Kane was adjudged to have been fouled by Dumfries following a VAR review.

Kane silences critics with penalty

Kane coolly found the left corner, despite Verbruggen guessing correctly and diving the right way. It was simply too powerful a shot and too close to the woodwork to stop.

Dutch media were furious, claiming that Sark had committed a handball in the build-up. They called for the referee to be blacklisted. 

Typical of the reaction was former national team star Rafael van der Vaart, who told Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), one of the Dutch public broadcasters, “What a s*** team they are,” he fumed. “Slowly, they didn’t want to do anything anymore. They have such top players on the field.”

Grudgingly, he conceded, “We didn’t do much either. We had a few chances. There could have been so much more in it.”

Referee should be “blacklisted”

Voetbal International (VI), a Dutch football magazine, was incensed, pointing out Saka’s alleged handball.

VI claimed the “international press were unanimous about the penalty moment with Dumfries” and that it was not a penalty.

Pierre van Hooijdonk, working alongside Van der Vaart for NOS, raged: “(Referee) Felix Zwayer and the VAR Bastian Dankert: (should be) blacklisted. Terrible.”

Holland’s hearts were broken in the 90th minute by Ollie Watkins slamming home a Cole Palmer assist to send the national team to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday to face Spain.

“No one remembers who came in second”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dutch media made little reference to what would have been an inch-perfect goal by Bukayo Sake, disallowed for offside.

The late US professional golfer once said, “No one remembers who came in second.”

This is even more the case for those coming in third and fourth, it seems. 

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Written by

Eugene Costello

Eugene Costello has been a journalist and editor for almost 30 years and has worked at the London Evening Standard, the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail. He has written for a wide number of publications such as The Guardian, The Times and Sunday Times in addition to the above, and numerous magazines. He moved to Spain in 2020 and has no intention of going back.


    • Alison wright

      11 July 2024 • 14:03

      totally agree England cheated their way through,it was a handball
      I may be English, but I can’t stand this country, that’s why I’m hoping Spain win on Sunday 3-1

      • Jamie

        11 July 2024 • 17:07

        How did they cheat when it was the referee who gave the penalty. Harry Kane hurt his foot due to contact, and like any footballer from any country who hurts themselves they roll around on the floor. If you don’t like this country get on a dinghy and cross the channel into France.

        • Jane

          12 July 2024 • 13:24

          Spot on

    • Rickard

      11 July 2024 • 19:31

      Harry Kane hurt his foot because he kicked the lad and the ref only gave the penalty after VAR made him look again. You don’t even need to have played football to understand that wasn’t a foul in the box. Shocking call at any level. You might win it so I do hope enjoy your tainted trophy. Although hopefully Spain put you in your place like Italy did.

    • Richard

      12 July 2024 • 10:37

      Suck it up buttercup. They didn´t cheat they played by the rules the same as the opposing team would do

    • Steve

      12 July 2024 • 18:06

      What nobody seems to mention is that if that contact been made anywhere else on the pitch then the referee would have given a free kick for a “foul”. We have seen it time after time match after match with the slightest of contact (in what is allegedly a contact sport) being wrongly punished.
      Suck it up and suffer along with the rest of us in the knowledge and realisation in what has become a once great game being corrupted by obscene sums of money and where “cheating” is now the norm.

    • Jim smith

      12 July 2024 • 18:42

      It seems the losing teams have a habbit of blamming the ref
      Should they not blame themselves for not being good enough.

      • john

        13 July 2024 • 15:22

        when the ref gives the opposing team a free goal for a negligible foul, yes blame the ref. this is why soccer never catches on in the us. too many dives, fake injuries and the refs can ruin the game with 1 bad call. the sport needs to be fixed.


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