Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Gunners target Raheem Sterling should not have won a penalty in England’s 2-1 semi-final win over Denmark at Euro 2020.
It was 1-1 at the point when the incident occurred in extra-time, involving the Manchester City winger and Denmark wing-back Joakim Maehle.
Sterling was adjudged to have been brought down by the 24-year-old in a decision which split fans to whether it was a legitimate penalty or not.
Arsenal legend and FIFA chief Arsene Wenger was one to critique the decision that ended up winning England the semi-final, claiming officials made the incorrect call, despite the use of VAR.
“No penalty,” Wenger told beIN SPORTS. “I don’t understand why they don’t ask the referee to have a look at it.
“In a moment like that, it’s important that the referee is absolutely convinced that it was a penalty. It was not clear enough to say, ‘Yes it is’, and at least he should have had a look on the screen.
“I don’t know why the VAR didn’t ask him to go. For me, it was no penalty, no. I think that VAR has let the referee down, not Denmark. Denmark is a bit unfortunate.
“I understand that it’s difficult for the referee, but he must have a look at it.”
It is not the first time Wenger has been critical over an incident involving Sterling, with the former Gunners boss labelling him a diver back in 2017 when Arsenal lost 3-1 to Manchester City.
In that game, Sterling had won a penalty for City. Another incident and decision Wenger didn’t agree with. However, instead of criticising the referee, the now 71-year-old had a pop the English winger.
“I believe it was no penalty. We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well,” he said after the defeat.
“And the third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game.
“The third goal was the killer and it is by coincidence that mistakes always go for the home team, as we know.”
Former Liverpool player Dieter Hamann was another to take aim at Sterling, describing the penalty incident in extra-time as “scandalous”.
“I think it’s scandalous,” Hamann told RTE. “Obviously they saw the game out well after going ahead, but they won with a penalty which was a blatant dive.
“England always prides itself on being the home of fair play and no diving. We all remember what happened with [Jurgen] Klinsmann when he came to England and he dived, and then they had the celebration with the diving.”
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The in-form England forward, who has scored three goals so far at Euro 2020, said straight after the game that it was an easy decision for the referee.
“Yeah, I went into the box, he stuck his right leg out and he touched my legs so it’s a clear penalty.”
The 26-year-old won’t care one bit about the criticism being brandished onto his back, as he prepares with the rest of the England squad for the biggest game for the country since 1966, when Gareth Southgate’s side take on Italy on Sunday in the final of Euro 2020.