Spanish defender Sergio Ramos is a popular villain in the world of European soccer, there is no way around that fact.
So, in the 12th minute of England’s eventual 3-2 win over Spain, when Eric Dier ran 30 yards to
bulldoze tackle Ramos on the ball in the Spanish box, England fans delighted in the moment. Because of the unnecessary nature of the tackle – Ramos was on the ball near his own end line, and with Dier streaking in at full speed there was little to no chance of the tackle resulting in a change of possession – it gave the appearance that Dier took the opportunity to go in hard on a widely despised player.
[ RECAP – England holds on for 3-2 win over Spain ]
More controversially, Dier was shown a yellow card for the challenge despite winning the ball with his sliding tackle. It was a thumping challenge, toppling Ramos to the turf over top the Tottenham midfielder, but because Dier’s effort was on the mark, many believed he should have been let off with a clean tackle won. Others would argue that just because a player wins the ball, doing so in a dangerous manner should still constitute a foul.
Ramos, meanwhile, was not injured on the play. Instead, he rolled around for a moment grabbing his ankle before angrily popping up and shooting the referee a nasty look.
Because of how Ramos is viewed around Europe and beyond, there were many who delighted in arguably clean yet hard tackle on a villain of the sport.
England fans annointed Dier as some joked on social media that Dier “deserved knighthood” or that Dier “is my hero.” Liverpool fans especially appreciated the gesture, wanting some type of revenge for Ramos injuring Mohamed Salah during last year’s Champions League final.
The match finished 3-2 to England, a memorable victory that saw England take advantage of a number of defensive mistakes to send Spain to its first competitive home defeat in 15 years. Still, the Dier tackle is a memorable moment that galvanized one fanbase against a player with a history of controversial moments.