England star Lucy Bronze was left furious after England’s 6-1 win against China as she snubbed a handshake from referee Casey Reibelt.
The Barcelona right-back was involved in two VAR incidents during the Lionesses rout on Tuesday in their final Group D clash.
With England leading 3-0 towards the end of the first half, Chelsea forward Lauren James thought she had scored her second of the match in emphatic fashion.
But her goal was ruled out after Bronze was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up before she had teed up James for her brilliant curling effort.
And the 31-year-old was then caught up in another controversial incident after she was harshly penalised for a handball, which resulted in Wang Shuang scoring from the penalty spot to make it 3-1 in the 57th minute.
As England were defending a corner, goalkeeper Mary Earps pushed Bronze forward as a shot went in, with the defender immediately tucking her left arm behind her back.
The ball appeared to strike Bronze in the body and making her shirt billow, but after a lengthy VAR review, Reibelt awarded the Asian nation a penalty.
She then brandished Bronze a yellow card – much to the four-time Champions League winner’s frustration.
Thankfully for England, China failed to pull anymore goals back, as James restored their three-goal advantage with an emphatic volley, before Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly added late strikes.
But Bronze, who was taken off during the second half, was still left reeling with the Australian match official following the full-time whistle.
Back on the pitch, Reibelt held her hand out to Bronze, who simply walked past her in a clear sign of discontent towards the 35-year-old’s decisions.
It wasn’t the only act of petulance from Bronze, as she let her frustrations out after being replaced by Niamh Charles in the 71st minute.
Incensed by the decisions that went against her, the ex-Manchester City full-back kicked a chair which almost struck teammate Ella Toone in the head.
England fans on social media were loving the incident, as one user said: “Lucy Bronze just nearly took Ella Toone’s head off with that angry kick of the chair.
“Can understand her frustration though… robbed today!”
Another remarked: “Nothing makes more sense than Lucy Bronze kicking the s*** out of that chair after coming off.”
A third added: “Lucy Bronze kicking the chair has given me some new found respect for her and I’m not so sure why.”
Meanwhile this fan simply stated: “Lucy Bronze kicking the chair…passion.”
The new talkSPORT match centre
Keep up-to-date with all the latest football fixtures, results and standings in our new match centre.
Premier League fixtures
Premier League table
All fixtures and results
All league tables
When England defeated Cameroon 3-0 in their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group E match on Sunday, the game will be remembered for more than just the goals it produced. After the final whistle was blown, fan excitement quickly shifted to confusion and controversy.
England’s defender Lucy Bronze was visibly frustrated with the result as tempers flared in the closing minutes. The drama stemmed from a referee-awarded penalty that the video assistant referee (VAR) declared should not have been given. This controversial ruling ultimately caused a tense exchange between English players and Cameroonian FIFA referee, Stephanie Frappart.
When it came time for the customary referee handshakes, Bronze refused to take Frappart’s hand. She then proceeded to vent her unhappiness by kicking a chair and nearly striking her teammate Toni Duggan in the process.
It was a moment of pure frustration and a reaction that could be seen as disrespectful from Bronze. However, Cameron were also protesting a refereeing decision that left them completely frustrated.
After the match, Bronze released a statement apologising for her behaviour and explained that it was based on the emotion of the game:
“It was a hard-fought game in difficult circumstances that we as a team had to endure. My emotional reaction at the end of the game was due to the tensions of the match and the results of the VAR decisions that had occurred during the game.”
Bronze’s comments only underscored the drama and chaos that can sometimes come along with the rules of VAR replays. Referees are expected to contain such moments in professional football, but at the end of a wild and unpredictable match, emotions were running high for everyone involved.