Why Chelsea star Marc Cucurella is being booed in Spain vs France match at Euro 2024

Chelsea and Spain defender Marc Cucurella
-Credit: (Image: Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

Spain and Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella is being met with boos in Munich this evening as he plays for a place in the Euro 2024 final against France.

Cucurella has become an unlikely villain on Tuesday night as German fans attending the semi-final at the Allianz Arena aim their fury at the defender. The 25-year-old was involved in a controversial moment against the home nation in the quarter-finals when the referee adjudged in extra-time that he had not handled the ball in the penalty area.

This decision was ultimately costly for Germany as Mikel Merino scored a header deep into extra time to knock the hosts out and see Cucurella's team progress. Unsurprisingly, local fans who bought tickets hoping their country would be facing France tonight have turned against the Chelsea man and are booing him every time he touches the ball.

After the incident involving Cucurella last Friday, Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann called for UEFA to review their rules surrounding handballs. He told reporters: "When it happened, I couldn’t see it well and all I was thinking was: I hope it is a penalty, while the Spanish were thinking: I hope it is not a penalty.

"Afterwards I saw it on television more clearly but at that time that is all I could think. They were more lucky than we were.

"There is a rule and I hope there is no wrong decision. They applied the rule and it was not a penalty. I do not feel cheated. For me the question is about making it more practical, more logical, in terms of how this [handball] rule is assessed.

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"I say this for football [in general] not today. You look at the hand, if it is at 3 o’clock, if it is a bit higher or a bit lower. But there are people with bigger muscles than me, different movements."

UEFA revealed their rules on handball before the tournament and explained that for situations like Cucurella's where his arm was close to his body, the referee was right not to award a spot kick.