Or for non football fans – Video Assistant Referee. The World Cup is currently on it last leg of first round matches and VAR has become a big talking point in the World Cup with fans, Pundits and Players having mixed feelings with it. A brief outline of what VAR is suppose to do. – if a clear and obvious error has been made VAR are to notify the Referee who can than review the incident and make a decision based on his original view and the review and either keep the decision as is or reverse the decision. Now there has been a few penalties that have been given after VAR and whilst the majority of them have been correct I believe there is a couple that weren’t and also this goes the other way where no penalty was award when I believe it should’ve been. Whilst the majority have been right and that it shows VAR to be successful, it is still the Referee opinion and decisions are still open to debate. It however to me doesn’t enhance the game and feel at present it takes too long to stop and review and doesn’t always arrive at the correct decision.

Thought take a few examples which in my opinion shows it doesn’t work, in the Portugal vs Iran game, Iran are awarded a late Penalty after the ball struck a defenders arm whilst he is jumping with the attacker and the ball hits his upper arm about a foot a way from the attackers head who had headed the ball, the ball didn’t divert from its path and the players arm was not above him, to me that is not deliberate, the players arm is not in an unnatural position, he has no way of moving as the ball is played into him and it didn’t divert the ball away from its path, Referee waves play on but VAR said they believe an oblivious error has occurred. Serbia Vs Switzerland the Red awards Switzerland a free kick though replays show too Swiss players holding and pulling the Serbian forward to the ground, all the Serbian is guilt of is trying to get free, should’ve been a Penalty but wasn’t referred as not classed as an oblivious mistake. England vs Tunisia, Harry Kane is wrestled to the floor, no Penalty given and VAR not referred as no obvious error, last one again with Portugal vs Iran, a coming together off the ball between Christano Ronalado and an Iran defender, VAR believes a possible Red Card incident has taken place and the Referee reviews and ends up giving Ronaldo a yellow card, me personally can’t see this is even worth a yellow card, there was a similar incident in another game where it was referred and a yellow card was awarded when I think was only just a free kick but seems the Referee felt he had to book them as where seen as possible Red Cards though in fact all the replay showed was the opponents making a meal of minimum contact.

Whilst in principle I agree with the use of VAR at present I feel it leads to too many delays, interrupts the game and is still leading to human errors, I think it shouldn’t be used at major tournaments nor in the Premier League in its current state, the process needs to be sped up and what is classed as a clear and obvious error needs to cleared up.


World Cup Days 2/3

Ronaldo 1 Messi 0

We’re now 3 days in to the World Cup and the first battle between Ronaldo and Messi has gone to the Portuguese player after his hat-trick against Spain, I could put 3-0 as Ronaldo scored his Penalty, Messi missed his, Ronaldo scored his late free kick and Messi missed, Ronaldo performed well, Messi didn’t. But enough of these two, Friday saw Uruguay finally overcome a stubborn Egyptian side with a late winner after both teams missed very good chances though I can’t say I was impressed with either than could mean Russia after their opening day win could fancy themselves getting through. In the first Group B game saw an upset as Iran beat Morocco with a injury time own goal but I thought was fully deserved. The last game on Day 2 saw a match that would’ve been suitable for a last 4 tie as Spain and Portugal meet. The game had everything bar a sending off (still none so far) with a Penalty, a keeping mistake, a hat-trick and a wonder strike by Nacho. Portugal led twice before Costa equalised both times before Nacho struck before a ice cool Ronaldo got his hat-trick and a share of the points with his free-kick. Saturday saw 4 games and the first VAR assisted penalty after Griezmann was adjudged to have been fouled after the referee originally waved play-on it looked at the time the correct decision but slow motion did show that Griezmann was fouled and he duly converted it himself, Australia who battled hard then had their own penalty for handball and was also converted before a Pogba effort heavily deflected of Behich was shown to have crossed the line by Goal Line Technology and to me has to gone down as an own goal for France to sneak home 2-1. Argentina and Messi took stage for the second game of the day against Iceland. Iceland kept Messi quiet all game. Aguero put Argentina ahead and you thought that they would go on and win but Iceland struck back quickly and were level within 5 minutes and whilst Argentina had the best chances including a Messi penalty they couldn’t find a way through so the points were shared and it was a massive result for Iceland. Game 3 saw Peru take on Denmark which saw the 4th penalty of the day and the second VAR awarded penalty of the day. However Cueva who had a good game blazed the penalty way over the bar which for a international was embarrassing and Peru were made to rule that miss as Poulsen slotted home an Eriksen pass to give the Danes a 1 nil win despite the Peru domination which however lacked any real cutting edge. Game 4 saw Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 with the days 5th penalty which was duly scored by Modric to make it 2-0 after Etebo had unfortunately put in his own net, Nigeria failed to live up to the hype and rarely threatened. Day 3 also saw 2 correct score predictions for both Muse (France 2-1, Denmark 1-0) and myself (France 2-1, Croatia 2-0) with the Danish result giving Muse the early advantage with 18 points from myself (15), Ads (9) with Joe (4) bringing up the rear. Day 4 sees both Germany (vs Mexico) and Brazil (vs Switzerland) in action for the first time along with Costa Rica vs Serbia who start the proceedings at 1pm.

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