Steve Clarke wants answers over penalty decision after Scotland’s Euro 2024 exit

Steve Clarke wants answers over penalty decision after Scotland’s Euro 2024 exit

Steve Clarke demanded answers on a crucial penalty incident after Scotland’s Euro 2024 ended with a 1-0 defeat to Hungary.

With the Group A match  in Stuttgart finely balanced in the second half, substitute Stuart Armstrong went tumbling inside the Hungary box under a challenge from Willi Orban but Argentine referee Facundo Tello played on.

In the final moments of 10 added minutes, most of which was for treatment for a distressing injury to Barnabas Varga who was eventually carried off on a stretcher, substitute Kevin Csoboth scored on the counter for a 1-0 win to leave the Scots bottom of Group A with one point and out the competition.

The Scotland boss admitted being “sad and disappointed” at his side’s exit from the competition but was adamant about the penalty claim.

He said: “100 per cent. Somebody somewhere has to explain to me why that is not a penalty. It was 100 per cent.

“It was a one-goal game. We get the penalty it could be a different night.

“I have other words but I am not going to use them.

“European competition, maybe better to have European referee but we had European VAR and maybe the referee didn’t see the challenge clear on the pitch, so what’s the purpose of VAR if they are not going to come in for something like that. It was a penalty.

Scotland players dejected after the final whistle
Scotland players dejected after the final whistle (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“But they have given everything. You can’t fault the effort.

“It was a very tough game, a good opponent, a close game.

“It was always going to be decided with the first goal, I could tell that after half an hour.

“Unfortunately enough when we opened up towards the end of the game to chase the win we felt we needed to get to the next stage, we got caught on the counter and we lose the game 1-0.

“But I don’t think there was anything between the two teams.”

Kevin Csoboth's goal decided the game
Kevin Csoboth’s goal decided the game (Matthias Schrader/AP)

There was some distress in the second half when Varga stayed on the ground after a mid-air joust in the Scotland box.

Hungary players quickly signalled that the striker was in trouble and were incensed by the time medics and stretcher bearers took to get over to help treat the player.

After several minutes of treatment with sheets around him, Varga was eventually taken away on as stretcher and VAR check for a possible penalty came to nothing.

Boss Marco Rossi, who claimed his side “deserved” to win the game,  said: “I don’t know if it was with the goalkeeper or another player, it was confusing and there was a VAR check.

“The players said he was not conscious, everyone was worried about his condition and that the doctors were a little late getting on, maybe they didn’t realise how dangerous it was.

“Fortunately he is not under any risk.

“He will have an operation because he suffered a fracture of the cheek.”