North Macedonia vs England: What did Harry Maguire say about the controversial penalty awarded against them?

Rico Lewis challenged a long ball for a header. VAR, however, saw the defender have a trailing arm on Bojan Miovski, thereby a penalty was given.

File photo - Harry Maguire in a training session with England; Credit: Twitter@HarryMaguire93
By Karthik Raman | Nov 22, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

England ended their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with an unconvincing 1-1 draw away to North Macedonia. The Three Lions had already booked their place in next year’s competition still there was a lot to play for in the final two games. With many positions up for grabs, these two matches provided an opportunity for some players to become a regular member of the squad. However, England ended their final two games of the calendar year with below-par performances.

After beating Malta 2-0 on Friday, England could only get a draw against North Macedonia in their last match. There were many talking points from the game but the notable one was the controversial penalty awarded against the visitors on that night. Rico Lewis, who was making his England debut, challenged a long ball for a header. VAR, however, saw the defender have a trailing arm on Bojan Miovski, thereby a penalty was given. Enis Bardhi’s penalty was saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, however, he converted the rebound to put the hosts in front.

Harry Maguire on penalty

Defender Harry Maguire was clearly not happy with the awarding of the penalty. “It was a crazy decision. I’ve said it for numerous months now: it’s making the lives even more harder for us defenders. Even in the Premier League, week in, week out, we’re playing against top-quality forwards and we can’t move our body. We can’t defend, can’t make contact, can’t put your arms out. It’s just too harsh, too soft penalties and for me, it’s never a penalty. Rico reacted really, really well from it and we put in a big performance after that,” Maguire, quoted on, said after the match.

That 1-1 draw ended the team’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2024. Even though the final two performances did not go as planned, Maguire is happy with how the year has been for them. “It’s been a great year for us. It was a tough group and to qualify with two games to spare was big credit for the lads. We beat Italy twice and took four points off Ukraine as well. We knew this would be a tough camp. We wanted to win both games, we wanted to score lots of goals and entertain the crowd. It wasn’t to be, we found it a little bit tougher than we should have, but I think we’re in a great place,” he explained.

Meanwhile, England’s goalscoring machine Harry Kane was happy with the team managing an unbeaten qualifying campaign. In fact, it was Kane who played a big part in helping his country get the equaliser in the second half against North Macedonia. “Not the win we wanted but an unbeaten qualifying campaign and top of the group. Bring on the Euros in the summer! Thanks for all the support,” he wrote in a post on social media.

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