The defender concedes that he got too near to the midfielder and should not have done so, but maintains that he had no ill intent.
Despite his denial that he bit Paul Pogba during Germany’s loss to France, Antonio Rudiger did say that the incident appeared “unfortunate” on camera.
With a 1-0 opening game victory over Germany, France set the tone for their Euro 2020 campaign. Germany will have an uphill climb to make it out of Group F.
The game was decided by an own goal from Mats Hummels, and Rudiger may have been lucky not to be penalised by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande for his odd collision with Paul Pogba.
Why Did This Occur?
To close off the first half, Rudiger was seen on camera putting his face near to Pogba’s shoulder and then wrapping his arms around the Manchester United midfielder’s chest.
Then, it looked like Pogba complained to Del Cerro Grande about getting bitten, but the referee ultimately decided not to send the Chelsea defender off the field.
To What has Pogba Alluded?
Although Pogba never wanted to see the German star get sent off, he did call Rudiger’s action more of a “nibble” than a bite in his postgame interview.
He introduced us as friendly. “He may have nibbled on me, but it wasn’t anything major, and I won’t be demanding caution or even ejection from the game over it.
“Since he makes the calls, I told the ref how I felt. I think it’s best that he hasn’t gotten a card this year. I’d hate for this to be the reason he got suspended.”
The Reply of Rudiger
Rudiger has acknowledged that the incident looked ugly on TV, but he has also insisted that he never intended to cause Pogba any injury and that the referee took the right approach by not giving him a yellow or red card.
“I should not put my mouth that close to his back. The 28-year-old player said to reporters, “It looks bad. Paul and I have talked about it as friends after the last whistle.”
The referee told me that he would have penalised me had he believed my actions to be violent during the contest, and he reiterated this in interviews with the media afterward.
So, Now What?
The Germans will now begin preparing for Saturday afternoon’s must-win matchup against the tournament’s current holders, Portugal, if they want to make up ground and advance to the round of 16.
Meanwhile, on the same day, world champion France will face Hungary, who lost their opener game 3-0 to Portugal.