Gareth Southgate fears England’s name has been tarnished at the World Cup by referees after FIFA made an example of them in a training video. As a result, he plans to contact the game’s governing body to clarify what does and does not constitute a penalty here in Qatar.
The England manager was baffled by the fact that Harry Maguire’s fourth-minute bear hug against Iran on Monday was denied by Brazilian referee Raphael Claus only for VAR to award Iran a late penalty for a slight strain of the t-shirt
Southgate agrees that John Stones should have been punished, but felt that the Maguire incident was far worse.
It has left him fearful that an instructional video to highlight the kind of minor infractions that are supposed to be punished in the tournament might be counting against him.
Refereeing chief Pierluigi Collina has compiled video including Harry Maguire’s opening goal against Albania in a 5-0 win last November, where Kalvin Phillips appears to stop one of the defenders from moving back.
It has left Southgate to speculate if the idea has been planted in referees’ minds that England have a tendency to be the ones to cheat on set pieces.
“What worries me is that they used us in an example on the referee video,” he said. “And what they showed us, the incident in the first half, they told us it would be a final penalty.
“The second half we have to… maybe there’s a tug of the shirt, we have to be better at it.
“But I’m a little worried that we were the example that was shown, because then to get a decision like it happened in the first half, we need some clarification on how it’s going to go.”
Southgate further revealed that a similar conversation took place after the opening game in Russia four years ago. England then received two penalties in the next game against Panama.
“We have to have that dialogue with FIFA and just make sure,” he said. “We want clarity, otherwise we don’t know where we stand.
“Goals are coming in and we don’t know if they stay or not. But what worries me is that we were the example shown”.
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