The linesman said he didn’t see it. Neither did the Spanish referee. And the television replays were inconclusive. But Euro 2020 got it first real controversy on Tuesday:
Did Germany’s Antonio Rüdiger bite Paul Pogba on the shoulder?
Let’s go to the videotape.
The incident happened just before halftime, as Rüdiger snuggled up behind Pogba as he prepared to receive a throw-in deep in Germany’s end during a match in Munich.
In the United States, ESPN’s broadcast team didn’t draw any conclusions of what occurred. In Britain, Roy Keane, who knows a thing or two about getting under an opponent’s skin, called it a more of a “nibble” than a bite on ITV. In Brazil, where he is preparing to play for Uruguay in the Copa América on Friday, Luis Suárez probably wondered why he was suddenly a trending topic on Twitter.
Replays offered Rüdiger enough of a degree of deniability, the former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg suggested on ESPN, that there was no way the referee — or even the video review system in operation at the tournament — could rule on it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And almost as soon as it happened, play continued. But what, exactly, was Pogba complaining about?
Still can’t tell? We can’t either.
Let’s hope Pogba offers a bit of clarity after the match, which France leads, 1-0, late in the second half. (It could be worse: France has had two goals ruled out for offside.)