Cyprus Mail

Bright criticises lack of VAR after England lose to Netherlands

women's uefa nations league england press conference
England's Millie Bright

England captain Millie Bright said not having VAR available for their Women’s Nations League game against the Netherlands in Utrecht on Tuesday was “mind-blowing” after TV replays suggested the hosts’ first goal in their 2-1 victory was offside.

Substitute Renate Jansen scored a 90th-minute winner for the Dutch after Alessia Russo cancelled out Lieke Martens’ first-half opener. Danielle van de Donk appeared to be in an offside position in the build-up to Martens’ goal and Bright said it was “frustrating” that VAR was not being used in the match.

“I think we push the level of the game to be so high and professional, yet we sometimes have VAR, sometimes (we) don’t,” said Bright after England suffered their third defeat in 41 games since Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman took charge in 2021.

“This is international football and we do not have VAR in a competitive international game, which is mind-blowing.”

The VAR system is not mandatory during the group stage, with the hosts of each match deciding whether to use it or not, but will be implemented for the Women’s Nations League Finals.

Wiegman said it was “obvious” that the Dutch opener was offside and echoed Bright’s calls for consistency in the use of VAR.

“I think the whole stadium thought it was offside so I’m really disappointed about that,” said Wiegman, who returned to the Netherlands with England for the first time since her appointment.

“When you talk about VAR, of course it would have taken away that goal. I think we need consistency in VAR. Either you have VAR or you don’t have VAR.”

The result left England third in their four-team Nations League group with three points from two games, a point behind leaders Belgium, who drew 1-1 with Scotland.

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