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Should the Netherlands’ Goal Have Counted?

Controversial Call: Should Netherlands' Goal Have Counted?

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman insisted Xavi Simons’ disallowed goal should have stood as his side played out the first goalless draw of Euro 2024 against France in Leipzig.

Goalscorer Simons, his teammates, and the Dutch fans were convinced that the 21-year-old had given the Netherlands the lead when he found the bottom corner in the second half. However, English referee Anthony Taylor and the on-field officials disallowed the goal because Dutch full-back Denzel Dumfries was in an offside position and deemed to be impeding France goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

There was a lengthy check by the video assistant referee (VAR) as fans inside the stadium, unable to see the replay, whistled in frustration until it was announced the on-field decision would stand.

“I think the position of Dumfries is offside, that is true,” said Koeman. “But he is not disturbing the goalkeeper, and when that is not happening, it is a legal goal, in my opinion.”

This incident became the first major talking point surrounding the use of VAR at the tournament, especially regarding the time taken to reach a decision. “You need five minutes to check it, because it is so difficult?” added Koeman. “I don’t understand this. He is not disturbing the goalkeeper.”

France coach Didier Deschamps unsurprisingly agreed that the correct decision was reached. “I was a little taken aback by how long it took,” he said. “Because, for me, when I saw the image on the screen, it was a no-brainer.”

‘France Very Fortunate’

Former England strikers on BBC television coverage agreed with Koeman that the goal should have stood. “France have been very fortunate here,” said Alan Shearer. “When you see the angle behind the goal, the goalkeeper cannot dive for that with the body position he was in. He’s not getting to that ball, and Dumfries is not affecting him at all.”

Gary Lineker added, “You have to decide whether the goalkeeper is impeded, and he’s not, clearly. He’s a long way from Dumfries there; if he dived, he could just about reach him.”

Wayne Rooney and former Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas suggested referee Taylor should have reviewed the pitchside monitor. “He does actually make a small attempt to get the ball,” said Rooney. “There’s no way that should be disallowed. I think it’s a goal, and it was frustrating how long it took. If you go to the monitor, at least the referee can make a decision, and it’s his own opinion.”

However, former Netherlands defender Mario Melchiot conceded that Dumfries might have impacted Maignan’s ability to save the ball. “I think normally when someone is stood in such a position, you think is he in the line of the ball? No. But the position he was in could put the keeper off,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “If this goal was scored against us, I would have said the same thing.”

Koeman Accepts Outcome

Despite disagreeing with the decision, Koeman—who spoke to Taylor in the dressing room afterward—said he could accept the outcome and was satisfied with a draw that leaves the Netherlands on four points after two games, in a strong position to reach the last 16.

“France had better chances but not that many more,” he added. “I personally thought the goal should have stood; therefore, my takeaway from this is it is a fair result – I can accept this. There were times during the game where we weren’t up to scratch, and that is probably due to the fact we were up against a great opponent.”

Indeed, France had 14 shots without scoring, which is their most in a major tournament game without finding the net since the Euro 2016 final against Portugal when they had 18. The Netherlands face Austria in their final Group D game on Tuesday at 17:00 BST, while France takes on Poland, who have already been eliminated.

Credit: BBC Sport

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