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Steve Clarke demands explanation as Scotland denied penalty in Hungary defeat which ended Euro 2024 hopes

Steve Clarke on penalty he felt should have been given when Hungary's Willi Orban challenged Scotland's Stuart Armstrong in their 1-0 Euro 2024 defeat: "Somebody somewhere has to explain to me why that's not a penalty. It's 100 per cent a penalty"

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke was left questioning the point of VAR after Stuart Armstrong was not given a penalty during their 1-0 defeat to Hungary

Scotland boss Steve Clarke demanded answers why Scotland were denied a "100 per cent" penalty which he felt may have cost them their last-16 qualification at Euro 2024.

Stuart Armstrong appeared to be brought down by defender Willi Orban inside the area with Scotland's final group game with Hungary goalless but Argentinian referee Facundo Tello declined to give a penalty - a decision Sky Sports' Kris Boyd said he could not believe.

Clarke sympathised with the official but said VAR's decision not to intervene after viewing replays of the incident was inexplicable.

"100 per cent penalty," he said in his press conference. "Somebody somewhere has to explain to me why that's not a penalty. It's 100 per cent a penalty.

"It's a one-goal game, we get the penalty, it could be a different night. I've got other words, but I'm not going to use them.

STUTTGART, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Willi Orban of Hungary tangles with Stuart Armstrong of Scotland and no penalty is awarded during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Scotland and Hungary at Stuttgart Arena on June 23, 2024 in Stuttgart, Germany.(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Image: Willi Orban avoided punishment for this challenge on Stuart Armstrong

"It's a European competition, it might have been better to have a European referee. The VAR was European, maybe the referee didn't see the foul clearly on the pitch, but what's the point in VAR if they're not going to come in on something like that. It was a penalty."

Former Scotland forward Boyd questioned why Tello was not sent to the pitch-side monitor by Spanish VAR Alejandro Hernandez, with Armstrong and his team-mates visibly incensed at the time.

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"I've seen the penalty again and I cannot believe that hasn't been given," Boyd said on Sky Sports News. "It's a natural football position - you get your arm across to protect the ball.

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Sky Sports News' Luke Shanley analyses Scotland's exit from Euro 2024 following a heartbreaking defeat to Hungary

"The knee goes into the top of Armstrong's calf. I cannot believe a penalty hasn't been given. That would have changed everything.

"It's a penalty all day long. If the referee had been able to go to the monitor, he might have been able to correct his wrong decision."

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Kris Boyd says he didn't understand how Scotland were not awarded a penalty kick in their match against Hungary

Dean: I'm astounded penalty wasn't given

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean told Sky Sports News:

"I was a bit surprised if I was being honest, there was a bit of a tangle at the start but it's a clear foul, a clear knee on the back of the calf.

"I thought the referee was going to give a foul in real time, it just felt like it to everyone watching the game. I was even more surprised the VAR didn't get involved.

"I think the VAR would have got involved, he's probably looked at it and the referee's given some kind of explanation, maybe a tangle of legs or the attacker's instigated the contact.

"But whatever way you look at it, it's a clear penalty. They would have looked at it, and the referee just agreed with the referee - wrongly in my opinion, in everyone's opinion by the sounds of it.

"Scotland defended well and had chances. If they went 1-0 up, I couldn't see Hungary scoring a goal with how they defended for the rest of the game.

"It's just one of those things. I was astounded it wasn't given. The referee's probably seen a tangle, but if I was an attacker and I get across a defender and feel contact, you expect a penalty to either be given by the referee, the assistant or by VAR.

"The referees are at that tournament for a reason, they're the best in Europe or in South America in his case. You're there to make the big calls, guys have made big calls all competition; this is the first one, apart from Anthony Taylor's against France on Friday, where we're talking about the referee and the VAR."

Clarke: We need to work out how to score more goals

Despite realistically needing to win the game, Scotland failed to register a single shot on target until the 98th minute, while three of their four shots in total came after the 90th minute.

Clarke refused to be drawn on what exactly had seen Scotland drop out of the European Championship in the group stage for the second tournament in a row, but admitted he would need to sit down with his staff to work out how they will score more goals in future competitions.

He said: "It's very difficult to sit here and analyse, but sometimes after a defeat like that you need a bit of time just to digest everything and work out how the game went, why it went how it did.

"We didn't create enough, but we did create enough to score a goal. That's clear. Is that why we went out of the tournament?

"We scored two goals this tournament, we scored one last time. It's one for me to go away and talk to my coaches about, about how we can score more goals at certain times in games of course."

Rossi: We deserved to win

Kevin Csoboth ended Scotland's Euro hopes
Image: Kevin Csoboth ended Scotland's Euro hopes

Victorious Hungary manager Marco Rossi said his side were worthy of their first victory of the tournament, one which gives them an outside hope of reaching the last 16 for the second European Championship out of their last three tournaments.

"The Scottish had a bit more ball possession, especially in the first half," he admitted, but added: "In the second half it was more an up-and-down match, starting from around the 70th minute, almost 30 minutes in which there were situations from one side to the other.

"We can say that it was an equal match. Surely we had more chances, they had more of the ball, but overall I don't think we didn't deserve to win. It was deserved."

On Scotland's penalty, Rossi declined to offer his sympathies and instead drew comparisons to a foul he felt should have been given against Ilkay Gundogan ahead of Germany's first goal during Hungary's 2-0 defeat to the hosts in their previous game.

He said: "In the pre-match I said there was a clear foul on Orban by Gundogan, why do we have to talk now about this moment?

"I didn't see it well from the bench, but if they didn't give the penalty in the VAR room, they have seen it was not a penalty. Many pushes from the back in the European Championship are allowed."

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