England’s John Stones hits back at Italian press as tensions rise for Euro 2020 final

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England defender John Stones has hit back at criticism of the decision to award the Three Lions’ a penalty in their Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark was soft. Captain Harry Kane scored the winning goal against the Danes to land England a place in their first major final since 1966.  

Raheem Sterling darted into the penalty area in the first half of extra-time and was first clipped by Joakim Maehler before Mathias Jensen also made contact with the Manchester City winger. 

Referee Danny Makkelie awarded a spot-kick, from which Kane converted the decisive goal after goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel parried the effort straight back to the Tottenham forward.


“Definitely not. I think it was a penalty,” Stones argued in a press conference on Friday. 

“I’m biased but I saw it back and I think the referee made the correct decision, or VAR made the correct decision.  

“It’s something that I don’t want to get into or be swayed by, I suppose. From my opinion it was the correct decision, he’s been bumped from two sides.” 

The Italian press slammed Makkelie’s award of a penalty ahead of the final at Wembley.  

Corriere dello Sport, a national sports newspaper in Italy, went with the headline “Zuppa Inglese”, which translates to ‘English soup’. 

Soup is considered a boring dish in Italy, with the suggestion being that England were dull because they relied on an own goal and a controversial penalty to reach the final. 

“Southgate needs the help of the referee to reach the final against Italy,” the tagline underneath the main headline read. 

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