Mexican referee Cesar Ramos was right not to award Denmark an injury-time penalty against Tunisia in their World Cup Group D match on Tuesday, according to former Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong.
Yassine Meriah appeared to handle the ball as he tried to defend a corner into the box from Christian Eriksen. The ball hit his right arm before deflecting off his chest and onto his left arm, but there also appeared to be a foul committed by Mathias Jensen just before the handball incident.
Ramos went to the pitchside monitor for a second look at it, but stuck with his decision not to award a penalty to Denmark. The match finished as a goalless draw.
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De Jong, former Wales forward Hal Robson-Kanu and ex-referee Peter Walton all believed Ramos made the right decision.
Former Netherlands midfielder De Jong did not think the handball was clear and obvious so could not be awarded.
“He did debate over it because it comes off his left arm and then goes off his right arm then his left arm,” he said on ITV.
“You can debate if it is a handball. I liked the fact the referee stayed with his decision because when a referee goes to the screen to have a look they overturn it into a penalty.
“You can applaud the referee for sticking with his decision but for me it wasn’t a penalty. Of course he kept his hands and his arms quite close to the body.
“You can discuss that because it was his second arm that touched the ball because it was in an unnatural position close to his body. But as we like to say in the Premier League, it was not clear and obvious.”
Robson-Kanu said Ramos’ decision was “100 per cent” correct.
He said: “When the referee is going to VAR you are thinking that he’s going to award a penalty, particularly with what we’ve already seen this tournament, but actually it was 100 per cent the correct decision.
“It wasn’t a penalty and it would have been extremely harsh on Tunisia had that been given.”
Walton praised the consistency of the referee who also did not give Tunisia a penalty in the 71st minute when the ball struck the arm of Joachim Andersen in the Denmark box.
He said: “I didn’t think it was a handball offence. The ball does strike his arm, absolutely right. But was it in a natural position? Well it is for that phase of play. He is just going up to head the ball. The ball comes over a body of players and it does strike his arm after it strikes his body.
“The referee showed great consistency in his application of the law because there was a shout down the other end earlier on for a handball offence which the referee clearly said ‘I’ve seen it hit his arm, it is not a foul offence’ and VAR clearly did not get involved.
“This instance here VAR gave him the opportunity to have a look and he kept with his consistent approach. People will argue it was a handball, but for me not a handball.”
Tunisia will play Australia next on November 26 while Denmark take on France later on the same day.
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