Millie Bright said it was “amazing” that VAR was not used in the 2-1 Nations League defeat to the Netherlands.
Lieke Martens’ first goal for the hosts would have been disallowed for offside had VAR been in place, as Danielle van de Donk took part in the preparations after returning from an offside call.
But VAR is not mandatory in the Nations League group stage – it is at the discretion of the host nation – and the Lionesses also had two goals disallowed for offside, neither of which VAR could confirm.
Defeat in Utrecht. pic.twitter.com/ukzkFnqgmc
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) September 26, 2023
Speaking after the defeat, England captain Bright, 30, was quoted by the BBC website as saying: “This is international football and we don’t have VAR in a competitive international game, which is absolutely amazing.
“There is no consistency. It’s always disappointing (to have no VAR). We strive to keep the level of play as high and professional as possible, but sometimes we have VAR and sometimes we don’t, and sometimes we have goal detection technology.
“It’s unfortunate that these are still huge and wrong decisions. That’s where we as players have to keep talking about it, we have to step up and we have to demand better and demand more.”
After Alessia Russo’s equalizer in the 64th minute, England were punished for losing possession in the 90th minute when Alex Greenwood gave the ball away and Martens fed substitute Renata Jansen, who crossed for Mary Earps.
England coach Sarina Wiegman also expressed disappointment at the Netherlands’ opening goal as Danielle van de Donk appeared to be offside before assisting Martens.
“When they scored their first goal we didn’t do very well, we didn’t play well but it was clearly offside,” Weigman told ITV after just the third defeat in her 41 England caps.
“This needs to be seen. I think the standards of the game are getting higher and higher, so (having VAR) would be absolutely helpful. It’s just a little disappointing.
“(This is) absolutely difficult to accept and very, very unnecessary. In the first half they were the better team.
“I think in the second half we completely dominated the game and of course we scored one goal, but before that we also had a lot of huge opportunities. It’s just that at one point we couldn’t cope with the game and on the counterattack they scored 2-1. It’s very, very disappointing.”
As a result, England and the Netherlands, led by Andries Jonker, have three points each in Group A1. Belgium, who England face twice in October in their next group games, top the table with four points after a 1-1 draw with Scotland, who have one.
Wiegman’s side, a 2-1 winner over Scotland in the first leg last Friday, are attempting to secure a place in Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying through the competition and will need to finish top of their group to have a chance of doing so.