The official UEFA ‘rule’ that led to England’s controversial penalty against the Netherlands

Harry Kane scored to make it 1-1 after a controversial penalty decision.

Official UEFA rules have given an explanation on perhaps why England were awarded a penalty against the Netherlands.

The Three Lions fell behind at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund on Wednesday night after Xavi Simons’ strike beat Jordan Pickford in the seventh minute.

However, nine minutes later, Gareth Southgate’s men were given a huge chance to level the match after Dutchman Denzel Dumfries was adjudged to have fouled England skipper Harry Kane inside the penalty area.

The striker stepped up and scored to make it 1-1 but the decision to award England a penalty was greeted with differing opinions.

Rules set by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which UEFA abide by, perhaps explained why referee Felix Zwayer gave the spot kick.

The rule states: “It is committed with an opponent nearby and prevents the opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.

“Playing in a dangerous manner involves no physical contact between the players. If there is physical contact, the action becomes an offence punishable with a direct free kick or penalty kick.”

It continued: “In the case of physical contact, the referee should carefully consider the high probability that misconduct has also been committed.”


Speaking during the half-time interval, former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville said on ITV: “As a defender, I think it’s an absolute disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace of a decision.

“To have that given against me as a penalty at any time, but particularly in a game of such importance… I was fuming with the penalty in the Denmark game, the handball – I was offended by it.”

Ex-Newcastle United and Three Lions striker Alan Shearer said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “There is no doubt that there is contact, but the defender [Denzel Dumfries] is trying to block the ball.

“The follow through from Harry Kane makes the connection and I didn’t think it was a howler to be turned over.”