German media shout foul over alleged handball from England’s women’s team

As the German soccer team licks its wounds after its defeat at Wembley, at least some of the disappointment is being channeled into speculation about whether the team was treated fairly, perhaps even cheated out of victory. In particular, it is discussed whether the referees overlooked what is referred to as a “clear case of handball” in the 25th minute of the match. The tabloid Bild, for one, is outraged. Under the heading: Anger over Scandal Referees, the newspaper writes, it was “clear to see that the English player, Leah Williamson, played the ball at shoulder height with her hand”.

It accuses referee Kateryna Monzul of failing to see it as a handball, while video referees Paolo Valeri and Pol van Bockel came to the joint conclusion that it was not a punishable move, “So they didn’t even check the scene. !” Image declares.

The tabloid confronted Monzul about her decision after the match, asking: “What happened in the 25th minute of England’s handball?” Monzul, it said, “shrugged and spread his arms wide in an apologetic manner and left. No explanation.”

The tabloid then continued to confront Valeri after the match ended in the mixed zone. His response, it said, was: “Non posso dire niente, mi dispiace” – or “I can’t say anything, sorry”. Bild interprets this more directly in German as: “Sorry, I’ve got a muzzle.”

Later in a widely broadcast media interview, Germany’s coach, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, was also critical of the decision: “At this level in a European Championship final, something like this shouldn’t happen,” she said. – I would like for there to be a discussion about this. But what I don’t want is for it to be overlooked.”

In a separate comment, Bild goes so far as to compare what it calls the “fraudulent” result to the Wembley defeat of Germany’s men to England in the 1966 World Cup: “Germany is crying with our soccer women, and is annoyed by this new. Wembley fraud! With this 1:2 defeat after extra time, we have been defrauded again almost 56 years after the Wembley goal scandal,” it says.

Spiegel referred to the “commotion that prevailed in connection with a handball” which it said could have turned the match in Germany’s favour. It quoted Voss-Tecklenburg as graciously saying that although Germany should have been awarded a penalty, in her view England were a worthy winner after the 120-minute match. “They played their way into the hearts of a lot of people,” she said.

Die Zeit said it was clear the match “could have ended differently had the referee recognized Leah Williamson’s handball in the 25th minute. According to the rule book, it should have led to a penalty kick, maybe even a red card. But neither the referee, who is usually pretty overwhelmed anyway, nor her video assistants would admit they had seen anything. Which led to quite a bit of discussion afterwards”.

Meanwhile, Germany are unsurprisingly already looking towards next year’s World Cup for revenge.

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