Football

ENG Vs NED, Euro 2024 Semi-Final: Referee Zwayer 'Not Even Consideration' For Southgate

Felix Zwayer was given a six-month ban in 2005 after he was investigated for taking a £250 bribe from official Robert Hoyzer, who was subsequently banned for life

Jude Bellingham, then of Borussia Dortmund, protests with Felix Zwayer.
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Gareth Southgate says Felix Zwayer's much-discussed appointment for England's Euro 2024 semi-final is "not even a consideration", despite the referee's history with Jude Bellingham. (Live Streaming | Football News)

England midfielder Bellingham, then of Borussia Dortmund, was fined €40,000 for his comments relating to Zwayer's background after a controversial defeat to Bayern Munich in 2021.

"You give a referee that has match-fixed before the biggest game in Germany, what do you expect," Bellingham said, seemingly referring to the German official's six-month ban for match-fixing.

Zwayer was given a six-month ban in 2005 after he was investigated for taking a £250 bribe from official Robert Hoyzer, who was subsequently banned for life.

Southgate has no issues with Zwayer's appointment in an all-German officiating lineup for Wednesday's clash with the Netherlands, however.

"Everybody knows how I deal with referees, with complete respect for every referee," the England manager said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

"The two guys at UEFA who have been running the referees programme respect the way we do that.

"I have no concerns about who the referee is, he will be at a very high standard because that is how UEFA makes those decisions. It's not even a consideration."

Bellingham's comments came after Dortmund lost 3-2 to Bayern Munich, with the midfielder then aged 18.

Having left Dortmund for Real Madrid, Bellingham has been integral for England at Euro 2024, scoring in their opener against Serbia before his sensational last-16 leveller against Slovakia in the last minute.

Southgate came under some scrutiny for leaving the likes of Harry Kane and Bellingham on for so long in that unconvincing victory.

With the likes of Ivan Toney, Anthony Gordon and Ollie Watkins waiting for a chance from the bench, Southgate once again reiterated his stance on substitutions.

"There are different reasons for making changes," he added. "We were happy with the way the team were playing in previous games but we have made a sub at half-time, it's not pre-conditioned.

"You are always looking at the freshness of the team and the balance of the team and whether changes are going to make an improvement to the team or not.

"But all of the players go into the game in good condition. The game will take us in a certain direction that will make that decision for us."

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As for the threat the Netherlands pose, Southgate is preparing for anything that Oranje boss Ronald Koeman throws at him.

"Dutch teams don't tend to sit in and that's not what we've seen from them, but Ronald Koeman is an experienced coach," Southgate continued. 

"We are prepared for anything, it will be an exciting game with many good players on the pitch.

"We need another step from what we showed in the last game, it's a step up in quality of opponents and we are ready for that."

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