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The World Cup of VAR? Wired868 looks at good, bad and ugly of FIFA’s technological aid

Argentina’s Diego Maradona put his stamp on the 1986 World Cup, the Brazil duo of Romario and Ronaldo had 1994 and 2002 respectively while France’s Zinedine Zidane cast a long shadow over 2006.

But 2018? So far, it has been the tournament of VAR; and Morocco wing back Nordin Ambarat is not the only one who is unimpressed.

In the last minute of a Group B clash between Spain and Morocco, substitute Iago Aspas scored a clever backheel to equalise for the Europeans. Uzbekistan referee Ravshan Irmatov initially disallowed the item for offside, based on a signal from assistant Jakhongir Saidov. However, after an intervention from German VAR official Felix Zwayer, Irmatov changed his mind and allowed the effort to stand.

Aspas’ item—correctly awarded—was the difference between Spain or Iran qualifying as Group B runners up. That was an example of the good side of VAR and what it was initially introduced for.

But then there is the bad. In today’s Group A clash between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, attacker Fahad Almuwallad dropped dramatically to the ground and Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the spot. Portuguese VAR official Artur Dias was not convinced though and suggested to Roldan that he come have a second look.

So Roldan checked; and then stuck by his initial decision, which was almost certainly incorrect.

In cricket, once an incident is referred to the fourth official, then it is there that the decision is made. FIFA opted to pass the buck by kicking the final call back down to the man in the middle.

Photo: Referee Joel Aguilar uses VAR during a World Cup fixture between Sweden and Korea Republic on 18 June 2018.
(Copyright Adam Pretty/Getty/FIFA)

And Roldan, with a maxi-full of anxious players and coaches breathing down his neck, thousands on edge in the stadium and millions more looking on through television and streaming devices, has to decide whether to publicly overrule himself. He chose not to.

Perhaps the VAR officials, safely hidden away in their air conditioned studio, are in a better position to decide such contentious moments. Unlike Roldon, they are not battling to master their own adrenaline or being jostled and harassed by players and coaches while they make their minds up. Presumably then, they are less vulnerable to human error.

Is the whole point of VAR not to lessen the chance of human error?

Then came the ugly, as Portugal and Iran went hammer and tongs in a high energy affair.

In the 81st minute, Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji went over clutching his face as Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo tried to run past him. There was no obvious sign of foul play and normally Pouraliganji, once ignored, would have gotten up and moved on with his life.

But Pouraliganji stayed on the ground. Players now know when VAR is obliged to check an incident, and a potential red card is one of those times.

Photo: Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) is shown a yellow card by referee Enrique Caceres (left) while Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian looks on during World Cup action on 25 June 2018.
(Copyright FIFA)

Italian VAR official Massimiliano Irrati told Paraguayan referee Enrique Caceres that he should have a look. And, sure enough, replays suggested that Ronaldo thrust his forearm into Pouraliganji’s cheek as he tried to burst clear of him.

Caceres, curiously, showed Ronaldo a yellow card. If Ronaldo intentionally tried to deck an opponent, it is a textbook red card offence and surely—if the situation was reversed—the referee would not have hesitated to eject an Iranian player who committed the same offence on the Real Madrid prince.

At the same time, Pouraliganji did not have a scratch on him and, if he were not aware of the potential advantage to be gained from the technology, would have surely carried on without any fuss.

So is VAR creating more issues than it clears up?

Like the anti-gang legislation or stop and frisk, is this a law that works better in theory than practice? And now that players are clearly wising up to how it can be exploited, will the World Cup knockout round have more stoppages than a cricket match?

In the build-up to the tournament, former Trinidad and Tobago World Cup standout and current ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop said he would have preferred more testing for VAR before it was used at such an important stage.

Photo: Spain striker Iago Aspas (centre) flicks home a dramatic stoppage time equaliser against Morocco in World Cup action on 25 June 2018.
Aspas’ item was incorrectly disallowed for offside and then allowed to stand after VAR intervention.
(Copyright FIFA)

Hislop, mind you, sits on a FIFA advisory panel for the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which discusses and decides upon proposed alterations to the laws of the game. He is well placed to offer an opinion in that regard.

Hislop since said he has been pleasantly surprised by the impact of VAR, which led to less grappling inside the penalty area and, as a result, more goals from set pieces.

But today’s round of matches suggests that VAR itself might need a quick review. Who wants a heavyweight clash when every other collision leads to a two or three minute break, as video technicians pore over replays?

Is this the World Cup or Sliver II?

And yet, with all that said, the tournament has been thoroughly entertaining so far, with VAR playing an unmistakable part in the intrigue.

Uruguay didn’t need any help to dismantle Russia, as strikes from star strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani paced the South Americans to a 3-0 dismantling of the host nation.

Photo: Uruguay striker Luis Suarez celebrates his strike against Russia during World Cup action on 25 June 2018.
(Copyright Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty/FIFA)

Have Russia’s limitations been found out? Have they run out of legs after their emphatic opening wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt?

Or is there wonderfully moustachioed coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, playing possum? After all, he did not use their best attacking player, Aleksandr Golovin, in the contest and withdrew their top scorer, Denis Cheryshev, after just 30 minutes.

We will find out on Sunday when Russia tackle Portugal from 10am in Moscow.

Saudi Arabia missed one penalty today but converted the second—controversially awarded by VAR—as they rebounded from an early Mohamed Salah goal to edge Egypt 2-1 in Volgograd.

But Group A’s two qualifiers were decided beforehand and there was more at stake in Group B. Fans got their money’s worth there and the VAR officials earned their pay too.

Ronaldo won a controversial penalty in the 56th minute, as he dived over a phantom challenge from Iran midfielder Omid Ebrahimi, only to collide with opposing defender Saeid Ezatolahi on his way down.

Photo: VAR por favor?
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo (right) waits for a VAR intervention after falling over Iran defender Saeid Ezatolahi in the penalty box during World Cup action on 25 June 2018.
(Copyright FIFA)

Caceres turned to Irrati for guidance from the studio and then pointed to the spot. Arguably, justice prevailed as Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand saved Ronaldo’s effort. It was the fifth missed penalty of the tournament so far, although it would not ultimately haunt Portugal.

An outrageous outside of right boot attempt from Ricardo Quaresma—who was starting his first World Cup game at the ripe age of  34—put Portugal ahead in the first half. But Iran never gave up and got another fortuitous VAR decision in the third minute of second half stoppage time.

Portugal right back Cedric did not intentionally hit the ball with his hand nor did he move his arm towards the sphere. But, once your arm is raised, those are given now; and Karim Ansarifard converted from the spot. At that point, Morocco led Spain 2-1 and Iran looked set to join Portugal in the Round of 16.

Then, VAR intervened, correctly, to rescue Aspas and Spain. Sadly, though, its pre-imminence over the 90 minutes is nearing farcical levels with players and coaches constantly drawing imaginary shapes in the air, like patrons signalling for a beer during happy hour.

If the technology was supposed to lessen the game’s controversial talking points, it isn’t really working out that way. And just wait until notable thespians like Brazil’s Neymar, Spain’s Sergio Ramos, Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, Argentina’s Angel Di Maria and Germany’s Timo Werner get the hang of it.

Photo: Hoss, that is NOT how you make a Swiss roll!
Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami (right) remonstrates with Brazil star Neymar during 2018 World Cup action on 17 June.
(Copyright Jason Cairnduff/Reuters)

World Cup 2018

Today’s results

(Monday 25 June)

Uruguay 3 (Luis Suarez 10 FK, Denis Cheryshev OG 23, Edinson Cavani 89), Russia 0, Group A, Samara;

Saudia Arabia 2 (Salman Alfaraj 45+6 pen, Salem Aldawsari 90+5), Egypt 1 (Mohamed Salah 22), Group A, Volgograd;

*—Fahad Almuwallad penalty saved.

Spain 2 (Isco 19, Iago Aspas 90+1), Morocco 2 (Khalid Boutaib 13, Youssef El-Nesyri 81), Group B, Kaliningrad;

Portugal 1 (Ricardo Quaresma 44), Iran 1 (Karim Ansarifard 90+3 pen), Group B, Saransk;

*—Cristiano Ronaldo penalty saved.

Photo: Portugal goal scorer Ricardo Quaresma (left) celebrates his goal with captain Cristiano Ronaldo during their 1-1 tie with Iran on 25 June 2018.
(Copyright FIFA)

Tomorrow’s fixtures

(Tuesday 26 June)

Australia v Peru, 10am, Group C, Sochi;

France v Denmark, 10am, Group C, Moscow;

Nigeria v Argentina, 2pm, Group D, St Petersburg;

Iceland v Croatia, 2pm, Group D, Rostov-On-Don.

Photo: A Russia football fan gets behind his team during their 3-0 loss to Uruguay on 25 June 2018.
(Copyright FIFA)

Round of 16 match-ups at present

(Bracket One)

France (C1)/Nigeria (D2) vs Uruguay (A1)/Portugal (B2);

(Versus)

Brazil (E1)/Sweden (F2) vs Belgium (G1)/Japan (H2);

(Bracket Two)

Spain (B1)/Russia (A2) vs Croatia (D1)/Denmark (C2);

(Versus)

Mexico (F1)/Switzerland (E2) vs Senegal (H1)/England (G2).

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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28 comments

  1. VAR controversy with Ronaldo, World Cup shows system needs tweaking – ex-Prem ref Walton

    MOSCOW — Peter Walton, a former English Premier League referee, thinks Cristiano Ronaldo should have been sent off in Monday’s tense World Cup match between Portugal and Iran.

    “He cuffed him,” Walton said of Ronaldo’s elbow into the face of Morteza Pouraliganji late in the group stage game. “It was aggressive and it was a strike to the face and, if I was the man on the field, a strike to the face means he has to go.”

    Clear enough, right? But here is where it gets a little more complicated. Despite feeling that way, Walton also said that if he had been the video assistant at the match, he would not — would not — have done what the VAR in that match did, which was call down to the on-field referee, Enrique Caceres, to come over and have another look.

    “I know that seems like I’m sitting on the fence,” Walton told ESPN FC in an interview on Monday. “But this is the part that needs to be explained about VAR — the threshold to get involved has to be far, far higher than if you are the man on the field.”

    Here’s what Walton means: the referee on the field makes whatever decisions he deems to be correct and, in doing so, he uses his own judgment. That is the only factor.

    For the official working as VAR, the standard has to be higher. Fans are surely already sick of — if not confused by — the phrase “clear and obvious,” but that is the level to which an incident needs to rise for the VAR to intervene with what the referee has decided. In some cases — as with Spain’s goal against Morocco which was originally ruled out for offside but overturned when a replay showed the attacker was clearly onside — it is easy.

    In instances like Ronaldo’s, however, it is not. And to Walton, those are the circumstances where the VAR has to ask himself a straightforward question: Would just about everyone in a room watching this game see the same thing? If the answer is “yes,” call the referee and have him view the replay. If the answer is: “Well, the Iranians would absolutely see it as a red but some neutrals might think a yellow is fine and the Portuguese say play on,” then, to Walton, the VAR should stand down and let the referee make his own call.

    “The VAR has to be the voice of the masses,” Walton said. “Maradona’s hand-of-God — even most Argentines would say, yes, it was a handball. Those are the ones VAR is there for. It’s not there so that a second person can officiate the game just as the first person is doing.”

    Howard Webb, another former referee who handled the 2010 World Cup final and has overseen the introduction of VAR into Major League Soccer, said maintaining that separation is critical to VAR’s effectiveness.

    Webb raised one of the most-discussed incidents in the group stage as an example: when Sweden’s Marcus Berg was through on goal and challenged — unfairly, according to the Swedish team — by Germany’s Jerome Boateng in one of the more intense matches of the group stage.

    Sweden felt Berg should have earned a penalty but the referee, Szymon Marciniak, signaled to play on. Swedish fans howled and many neutral observers were bothered that the play was not even flagged for a review. According to Webb, though, proper protocol was followed: the VAR officials did take a look (as they do with any situation) but did not see a “clear and obvious” error — it was, like Ronaldo’s, debatable — so there was no reason to call Marciniak to the monitor.

    On the other side, Webb said he believes there have been several situations that, in his opinion, were called incorrectly. He cited the game between England and Tunisia in which Harry Kane was hauled to the ground in the penalty area and the referee was unmoved. “That should have been given,” Webb said. “To me, it was clear.” He similarly thought a red card should have been shown to Aleksander Prijovic of Serbia after he appeared to strike a Costa Rican opponent in the face; the referee in that situation only issued a caution.

    Carlos Queiroz, the coach of Iran, went on a lengthy screed about VAR late Monday night, and one point he raised — that he would like to hear what, specifically, the referee and VAR are looking at during a review — is something that Walton said is actually a realistic possibility.

    In rugby, conversations between the replay official and on-field official can be heard, and Walton said he believes that is “phase two or three” of the VAR experience in football. Allowing those conversations to be public would at least allow coaches and players (and fans) to understand why an official determined what he or she did, and would — hopefully — decrease the intensity of protests because of it.

    “I do think it has a place in football,” Walton said. “I think getting the explanation of how the decision is reached getting out to the masses is so important. At least then, in the situation last night, even if Carlos still disagrees, at least he knows how it was reached.”

  2. For me, the yellow card is a fudge though. Either no action or red. Don’t see room for in between.

  3. I wouldn’t call the Roldan decision the bad side of VAR, but the bad side of FIFA and bad refs in general. The man in the middle who thought his decision was better than that of the VAR…smh he must be a superhero. Seems to me it’s FIFA’s poor management of this process coupled with the usual player melodrama that is making VAR bad or ugly.

  4. VAR controversy with Ronaldo, World Cup shows system needs tweaking – ex-Prem ref Walton

    MOSCOW — Peter Walton, a former English Premier League referee, thinks Cristiano Ronaldo should have been sent off in Monday’s tense World Cup match between Portugal and Iran.

    “He cuffed him,” Walton said of Ronaldo’s elbow into the face of Morteza Pouraliganji late in the group stage game. “It was aggressive and it was a strike to the face and, if I was the man on the field, a strike to the face means he has to go.”

    Clear enough, right? But here is where it gets a little more complicated. Despite feeling that way, Walton also said that if he had been the video assistant at the match, he would not — would not — have done what the VAR in that match did, which was call down to the on-field referee, Enrique Caceres, to come over and have another look.

    “I know that seems like I’m sitting on the fence,” Walton told ESPN FC in an interview on Monday. “But this is the part that needs to be explained about VAR — the threshold to get involved has to be far, far higher than if you are the man on the field.”

    Here’s what Walton means: the referee on the field makes whatever decisions he deems to be correct and, in doing so, he uses his own judgment. That is the only factor.

    For the official working as VAR, the standard has to be higher. Fans are surely already sick of — if not confused by — the phrase “clear and obvious,” but that is the level to which an incident needs to rise for the VAR to intervene with what the referee has decided. In some cases — as with Spain’s goal against Morocco which was originally ruled out for offside but overturned when a replay showed the attacker was clearly onside — it is easy.

    In instances like Ronaldo’s, however, it is not. And to Walton, those are the circumstances where the VAR has to ask himself a straightforward question: Would just about everyone in a room watching this game see the same thing? If the answer is “yes,” call the referee and have him view the replay. If the answer is: “Well, the Iranians would absolutely see it as a red but some neutrals might think a yellow is fine and the Portuguese say play on,” then, to Walton, the VAR should stand down and let the referee make his own call.

    “The VAR has to be the voice of the masses,” Walton said. “Maradona’s hand-of-God — even most Argentines would say, yes, it was a handball. Those are the ones VAR is there for. It’s not there so that a second person can officiate the game just as the first person is doing.”

    Howard Webb, another former referee who handled the 2010 World Cup final and has overseen the introduction of VAR into Major League Soccer, said maintaining that separation is critical to VAR’s effectiveness.

    Webb raised one of the most-discussed incidents in the group stage as an example: when Sweden’s Marcus Berg was through on goal and challenged — unfairly, according to the Swedish team — by Germany’s Jerome Boateng in one of the more intense matches of the group stage.

    Sweden felt Berg should have earned a penalty but the referee, Szymon Marciniak, signaled to play on. Swedish fans howled and many neutral observers were bothered that the play was not even flagged for a review. According to Webb, though, proper protocol was followed: the VAR officials did take a look (as they do with any situation) but did not see a “clear and obvious” error — it was, like Ronaldo’s, debatable — so there was no reason to call Marciniak to the monitor.

    On the other side, Webb said he believes there have been several situations that, in his opinion, were called incorrectly. He cited the game between England and Tunisia in which Harry Kane was hauled to the ground in the penalty area and the referee was unmoved. “That should have been given,” Webb said. “To me, it was clear.” He similarly thought a red card should have been shown to Aleksander Prijovic of Serbia after he appeared to strike a Costa Rican opponent in the face; the referee in that situation only issued a caution.

    Carlos Queiroz, the coach of Iran, went on a lengthy screed about VAR late Monday night, and one point he raised — that he would like to hear what, specifically, the referee and VAR are looking at during a review — is something that Walton said is actually a realistic possibility.

    In rugby, conversations between the replay official and on-field official can be heard, and Walton said he believes that is “phase two or three” of the VAR experience in football. Allowing those conversations to be public would at least allow coaches and players (and fans) to understand why an official determined what he or she did, and would — hopefully — decrease the intensity of protests because of it.

    “I do think it has a place in football,” Walton said. “I think getting the explanation of how the decision is reached getting out to the masses is so important. At least then, in the situation last night, even if Carlos still disagrees, at least he knows how it was reached.”

  5. Former FIFA referee Osmond Downer on penalty awarded to Iran for handled ball: Law 12 of the game in dealing with direct free kick or penalty states the offence as ” handles the ball deliberately…”

    It goes on to say ” handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or the arm”

    It goes on also ‘the following must be considered : (1) the movement of the hand towards the ball(not the ball towards the hand) (2) the distance between the opponent and the ball(unexpected ball) (3) the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement.

    Now there have been decisions given in some games of the world cup recently involving handling the ball, some even resulting in penalties and goals that really have me wondering if fifa has removed the word “deliberate” from the offence.

    Examine carefully all the words in the definition of the word deliberate.
    note carefully ” intentional,calculated,conscious,planned,meant,considered, studied, wilful, and very importantly, premeditated .

    I have heard the words “unnatural position of the hand” used in justifying some of these far-reaching decisions. but the law specifically states that the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement .

    Now, what is the “:natural position “of the hand of a player jumping in the air to head the ball considering the physics of the centre of gravity of the body, and also balance, and also impetus taught in all p.e.classes in schools ? also a player on falling to the ground, where must the hands be ? in most of these cases the player may not even know where the ball is.

    One can see that in the “wall for a freekick a player can be penalised for stretching out his hand deliberately to extend the width or height of his reach, or a player advancing towards an opponent who is about to kick the ball with the hands of the advancing player wide open showing possible premeditation to stop the ball with the hands.or a player jumping to head the ball with hands stretched straight up in the air to extend the reach of the hand to stop the ball.

    After all is said, the wording of the law must stand and common sense will prevail, as always, in determining the intent of the player, with the word “intent” emphasised.

  6. Excerpt: In an analysis carried out by sport scientists at KU Leuven, encompassing more than 800 matches in more twenty countries, it was found that the total accuracy in refereeing decisions had risen from 93 per cent to nearly 99 per cent in the four categories that VAR intervenes in. Nearly 57 per cent of VAR checks were for penalties and goals; VAR was used less than five times per match, and the average time lost due to the usage of VAR was less than 90 seconds in a game…

    The World Cup in Russia is the first competition using VAR in full. The system works as follows: five officials — the referee, the two on-pitch assistants, the fourth official and the video assistant referee (VAR)— are in constant communication via headset. After an incident, either VAR makes a recommendation or the referee requests their opinion. VAR can also flag events that the referee has missed, in which case, the referee can simply accept VAR’s verdict or check a monitor located on the side of the pitch.

    The VAR itself is located on a video operating room at the headquarters in Moscow. The VAR will consist of one VAR and three assistants – all FIFA match officials. These referees, wearing full kit, are located in a video operations room furnished with ten screens displaying the multiple camera angles from broadcast cameras and the two offside cameras in the stadium. These touchscreens allow referees to zoom in and out and instantly select different angles. Furthermore, to counteract criticism that the decision-making process was often unclear to players and fans, replays and graphics explaining the decision are shown on giant screens inside the stadia.

    So far at the World Cup, four penalties have been given by VAR, and there were only five reviews in the first 17 matches of the competition. Concerns that VAR would lead for long interruptions have also been proven wrong. Of course, critics continue to point incidents were VAR has failed to rectify a decision from the referee, such as clash between Costa and Pepe before the Spain goal. For instance, at the England – Tunisia game, VAR was reviewed twice when England striker Harry Kane is seen being wrestled by Tunisian defenders, but no penalty was given. “That is what VAR is there for,” Kane said to the press. “At a few corners I couldn’t move.”

    It seems to be a naive criticism, however. Without VAR those decisions would have remained the same, regardless. Surely the point of VAR is in rectifying not all, but some incorrect decisions. That’s what happened in the game between Peru and Denmark, after striker Christian Cueva went down in the area. The referee waved on but 23 seconds later, stopped play to consult and correctly awarded the penalty. “The problem is that people are always looking and picking out the controversial things,” Brud says. “No one cares if someone had a happy day. This is why this will always be a problem of VAR’s. People just ignore how well it can work. Normally it works well, but as soon as it doesn’t, the discussions start again.”

  7. Excerpt: The first video referral in World Cup history happened during the Group B opener between Spain and Portugal, in Sochi. In the 24th minute, Spanish striker Diego Costa clattered against defender Pepe, elbowing him in the face. The defender fell to the ground and, in the sequence of the play, Costa sent the ball into the corner of the net. As Spain celebrated equalising the match at 1-1, referee Gianluca Rocchi consulted the video assistant referee (VAR) using his headset, asking if he had seen anything wrong with the play. The VAR, who at the time was sitting in a video operations room in Moscow, 1,620km away from the action, replied that all was OK. The goal was allowed to stand. “It was a clear foul,” Fernando Santos, Portugal’s boss, said after the match. Even Spain’s Diego Costa agreed: “I saw it afterwards. You could give a foul. It’s the referee’s interpretation.” When asked about VAR, he added: “I don’t like it… I scored a goal but I didn’t know whether to celebrate or not. If there is a questionable part of the play, you don’t celebrate. It can make you look stupid.”

  8. I think the VAR should be the final arbiter.

  9. Actually it was called the Bosnian War,a civil war which started after the dissolution of Yugoslavia at the end of the Cold War.

  10. Adore the pic of Behrami scolding Neymar…so chuckle worthy, reminiscent of a schoolmaster dealing with an errant schoolboy.I am so loving this World Cup,looking at every game.
    On Sunday I thought to mysel ‘Oh well I will concentrate on other things ,not really enthused by the matchups in Group H,especially POLANDvs COLOMBIA’ .Eh heh!After the first match,changed my mind so fast and what an absolute joy to experience that Colombian victory.

    I find myself on FIFA’s website(all the time) and other sporting platforms hungrily absorbing stats, group standings and stories.The politics represented by the celebratory gestures of two Swiss players were particularly fascinating and reminded of the atrocities committed in the Serbian war.The stand out goals scored so far are awesome,although I prefer those netted on the run rather than set pieces.
    I am female,cannot recognise the tactical aspects of the game but love the fact that I can become so alive,enraptured and addicted to this thing.

    My fav to win WC 2018 is Belgium with Uruguay as the dark horse…..just my two cents worth.

  11. If Ronaldo had scored that penalty and Portugal had won, would there even be this discussion???? In the wild frenzy to idolize players, people are no longer FANS of the GAME.

  12. I like it Lasana but agree that the guys in the room in Moscow should make the decision…..not the referee in the heat of the battle so to speak……

  13. “And just wait until notable thespians like Brazil’s Neymar, Spain’s Sergio Ramos, Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, Argentina’s Angel Di Maria and Germany’s Timo Werner get the hang of it.” This comment take win though. Lol.
    Sweden’s game against Germany was another VAR faux pas with that missed penalty call on Sweden’s second attack! So it seems that VAR like every other instrument is only as good as the user. Back to square one. Kudos to the goal line technology tho.

  14. If the ref deemed it dangerous play should the card not be red???

  15. The third officials should have the final decision, NOT the referees..

  16. All’s well that ends well. The penalty was below par a la CR7 standards and deserved to be saved. Portugal was in defensive mode throughout even with most of the possession.

  17. Money talks and bull shit walks.

  18. Iran’s goal keeper was off his line when he saved that penalty.