During the pivotal semifinal match in the EURO 2020 tournament, a fan in the stands appears to have used a laser pointer to distract the Danish goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel. Cameras recording the match show a clear green dot appearing on Schmeichel’s face and uniform just ahead of a penalty kick from Harry Kane, England’s top striker. While Schmeichel managed to block the first attempt, Kane was able to score the game-deciding goal on the rebound kick.
The penalty kick itself was controversial. Another top England player, Raheem Sterling, went down during a heated play, though Denmark’s fans felt as though the incident wasn’t a foul at all. Some accused Sterling of overacting to draw the penalty, allowing for Kane to get a free-kick that would decide the game. The additional revelation that a fan may have distracted Schmeichel with a laser adds more anger for Danish fans, many of whom feel they were “robbed” of their spot in the final.
The UEFA will investigate the incident and levy a penalty against England depending on their findings. Their statement reads “Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark (2-1), played on July 7 at Wembley Stadium, London.
“The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) in due course.”
The investigations also will be looking into charges that England’s fans caused a disturbance to the game for loudly booing during the Danish national anthem. Other incidents include some fans reportedly firing flares off within Wembley Stadium and generally causing mayhem in and around the stadium during and after the game.
Emotions are high for England. This is the first time their national team has pushed this far into a major tournament since 1966 when they took home a World Cup trophy. If England wins Sunday’s match against Italy, it will be their first-ever EURO win, marking a historic victory for the long-suffering team.
Gareth Southgate, England’s head coach, told reporters after the semifinal game, “I’m so proud of the players. It’s an incredible occasion to be a part of, the fans were incredible all night.”
Kasper Hjulmand, the Danish head coach, congratulated his English counterpart before adding that he was still frustrated about the controversial penalty kick that gave England the game-winning goal. “It makes me angry that this is the way the game got decided,” Hjulmand admitted, visibly frustrated. “We are very disappointed.”