Harry Maguire blamed the referee for the 1-1 draw between England and North Macedonia, claiming the official “gave” the hosts a goal due to a contentious penalty call.
The Three Lions’ qualifying campaign came to a dismal close in Skopje with a stalemate, despite already securing their spot in next summer’s Euro 2024.
Rico Lewis, in his first appearance for England, was adjudicated to have fouled Bojan Miovski inside the box just before halftime, giving North Macedonia the lead. The teenager from Manchester City leaped to head the ball, but he barely touched the striker as he did so.
After Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Filip Glova was instructed to examine the incident on the pitch-side monitor, the referee pointed from the spot after first waving play on.
Nach a penalty save by Jordan Pickford, Enis Bardhi smashed home the rebound.
Coming off the bench to assist in forcing an own goal just before the hour mark, Harry Kane helped England salvage a point.
The decision infuriated Maguire, a Manchester United defender who was fortunate to escape giving up a penalty after tripping Elif Elmas in the first half.
“It was a tough game,” he told Sky Sports. We conceded a goal, or rather, the referee gifted it to them. It’s tough to come back from behind here.
However, the boys shown outstanding spirit; the other team is young, but we fought hard and came out on top.
Even though we were a bit careless with the ball at times—myself included—we were able to maintain control of the game and advance.
He went on to say, “It was a crazy decision” on the penalty call. I’ve been saying this for months: it’s making defenseless foes’ lives worse.
You can’t put your arms up, make contact, or move around; we’re playing against top-tier guys.
The difficulty level is rising. It was never a penalty, but Rico responded brilliantly, and he went on to have a great game.