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Virgil van Dijk claims referee actions in tunnel after England game'say a lot'

Virgil van Dijk expressed frustration with the referee following the Netherlands' 2-1 loss to England in the Euro 2024 semifinals, including a controversial penalty kick decision.

The game was marked by a series of contentious moments, the first unfolding early when Harry Kane attempted a shot in the box. As Kane released his effort, he was clipped by defender Denzel Dumfries and fell in pain, sparking the first wave of contention.

Following a tense review, VAR overturned referee Felix Zwayer's initial goal kick decision and awarded a penalty in favor of England. Kane confidently converted the penalty in the 18th minute, giving England an early lead and sparking a wave of controversy.

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Van Dijk himself was furious with the referee. He said after the game: "I don't know if I should say anything, but I think that says it all that the referee went in quite quickly after the game. Had no time to shake his hand. It is what it is. The game is done. We lost.

"It's very tough to take. Certain moments were obvious that it should have gone our way. It didn't. Whatever the outcome is, its difficult to accept. It's been a tough year and we had a big dream that we felt we could have achieved as a team."

The controversial refereeing sparked fierce debate, with the Netherlands team and its supporters feeling wronged by what they saw as a harsh call. Later in the game, after protesting an aerial duel with John Stones, Van Dijk also received a yellow card. Fans online quickly criticized the decision, arguing that Stones had pulled Van Dijk's jersey throughout the play.

Van Dijk criticized the Euro 2024 referees

(Image: Getty)

One fan wrote: "The referee who officiated the Netherlands game against England was very biased towards the Netherlands players, especially giving Van Dijk a yellow card. It was unwarranted." Another fan replied: "Two players are pinning Nathan Ake to the floor. The ref only sees Van Dijk and gives him a yellow card. I’m so tired of football. So, so, so tired of it."

A third fan added: "Van Dijk, who is the captain, just got a yellow card for telling the ref it was a corner when it clearly was."

The comments overwhelmingly supported the Netherlands center-back, highlighting the widespread frustration with the officiating during the match. The match reached a dramatic climax when substitute Ollie Watkins scored a stoppage-time winner, sealing a 2-1 victory for England.

As England celebrated its hard-fought win, the Netherlands reflected on another near-miss in its quest for Euros glory. The loss marked the country's fourth semifinal defeat since winning the competition in 1988 when it defeated the Soviet Union 2-0.

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