2018 FIFA WC: The five most controversial VAR decisions

Xtratime Web Desk: Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is one of the latest technological inclusions at the grandest stage of World football. World Football has evolved over the years and the decisions of the referees have always been in doubts. So for better decisions and fair play, VAR is included in this year’s world cup. Last World Cup saw the debut of the flawless Goal-line technology and it was successful in the outcome of a number of goals.

This year VAR has played an integral part in making a number of decisions which went the right way. But there were few incidents which should have gone for the review but it somehow didn’t manage to convince the referees.



Here are five key moments involving VAR so far:

Neymar’s dive

This is what VAR was made for. Brazil were struggling to break down a solid Costa Rica when Brazil’s golden boy, Neymar, felt a slight tug of his shirt inside the penalty area. The referee, who was only a few yards away, bought it and pointed to the spot. VAR was called upon and the truth was revealed – the impact on Neymar wouldn’t have knocked over a toddler.

Ronaldo’s elbow

Life usually goes how Cristiano Ronaldo wants it to – and so it should with his talent and work ethic. But in Portugal’s clash with Iran, he wasn’t having one of his better days, having missed a penalty and struggled along with his teammates to see off their lower-ranked opponents. Then he gave chase to a ball over the top and flung an arm towards the head of Morteza Pouraliganji who was attempting to hold him up. The Iranian fell to the floor and VAR deemed the offence worthy of a yellow card. Ronaldo either whacked him in the head or him didn’t – red card or nothing.



Iran penalty

Has the handball rule been changed? Because there was nothing deliberate in the way the ball connected with the arm of Portugal’s Cedric near the end of their 1-1 draw with Portugal –  the second crucial VAR moment in the match. A deep cross was swung over and Iran’s Sardar Azmoun nodded it down via the arm of Cedric, who was mid-air at the time. VAR says review, referee reverses decision and says penalty. The more you watch it, the more ludicrous it gets. And if you are in the market for more ludicrous penalty decisions involving handballs, then take a look at the one awarded in the Saudi Arabia versus Egypt game, when the concept of “deliberate” was again completely absent.

Harry Kane wrestling match

The entire English nation and probably most of the rest of the world watching England versus Tunisia were left scratching their heads as to when wrestling became part of football. On two occasions, Harry Kane was practically body slammed to the ground as corners were swung over. Was VAR tuned in to WWE instead of the football? Everyone else saw it. And while we are on the subject of grappling in the penalty box, how did it miss the manhandling of Serbian man-mountain Aleksandar Mitrovic in the match with Switzerland, when he had not one, but two defenders bear-hugging him to the floor.

Swede and sour

Germany against Sweden was goalless when Marcus Berg of Sweden raced through on goal with Jerome Boateng in hot pursuit. Berg was about to pull the trigger as he entered the penalty area and was the recipient of both a shove in the back and a trip as the chance to take the lead went begging. A quick replay cleared up the incident. Penalty. Was a penalty given? No.

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