Gareth Southgate fears England could be unfairly targeted at World Cup by officials after Harry Maguire was denied clear penalty in win against Iran

    Gareth Southgate wants ‘clarity’ from FIFA as he expressed his concern that England will be unfairly targeted by officials at the World Cup.

    The Three Lions were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty in the 6-2 win against Iran on Monday after Harry Maguire was hauled to the ground by Rouzbeh Cheshmi.

    Southgate fears that England could be targeted by referees at the World Cup

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    Southgate fears that England could be targeted by referees at the World Cup

    VAR didn’t intervene as Maguire looked to get on the end of Kieran Trippier’s corner, but later alerted the referee to a tug on a shirt in the England box which resulted in Mehdi Taremi scoring a last-gasp penalty for Iran.

    A similar offence also resulted in a penalty-kick for Argentina, in their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

    Southgate has now shared his concerns that England may be treated differently to other nations by officials, after his team were used as an example in a briefing video prior to the tournament.

    FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina singled out England during a pre-tournament briefing – also open to the media.

    He showed a clip of Kalvin Phillips blocking to create space in the box for Maguire to score in England’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying win over Albania last year.

    The Italian said such a goal would be disallowed at this World Cup in Qatar.

    Southgate believes the Three Lions were denied a clear penalty when Maguire was hauled down against Iran

    Southgate believes the Three Lions were denied a clear penalty when Maguire was hauled down against Iran

    That concerned Southgate, whose fears only deepened after Maguire was denied a penalty against Iran.

    The England boss said: “What worries me is we were used in an example in the referees’ video.

    “What we were shown [in the briefing] – the incident in the first half [against Iran]… we were told that would be a definite penalty.

    “In the second half, maybe there’s a shirt pull, we’ve got to be better on that, but I’m a bit worried we were the example shown.

    “And then to get a decision as happened in the first half – we need some clarification really as to how it’s going to be.”

    Southgate then went on to state how the FA had gone to FIFA after their opening match at the 2018 World Cup against Tunisia where Harry Kane was denied a spot-kick after being dragged to the floor.

    England were then awarded two penalties in their following clash against Panama.

    The ex-Middlesbrough gaffer added: “It happened in Russia and we’ve got to have that dialogue with Fifa [again].

    “We want clarity. Otherwise we don’t know where we stand.

    “Goals are going in and we don’t know whether they stand or not.

    “The bit that worries me is we were the example shown.”

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