VAR review update News: All of this boils down to the fact that the attacker’s intentions are crucial to any VAR review of a penalty.
The Chilean VAR Julio Bascunan should search for contact, inquire as to whether the contact had an effect, and weigh whether the attacking player used the contact to try to gain a penalty. Contact is insufficient on its own.
Amrabat, did he catch Gvardiol? Absolutely.
Did Gvardiol’s fall to the ground in that manner as a result of this contact? Most likely not.
Gvardiol steps to control the ball with his left foot following the collision with his left foot. He then drags his right foot along the ground, which the VAR will especially watch for, and theatrically falls to the ground. This is a classic case of a player trying to imitate a fall and create the appearance of a level of contact.
The judgement made on the field of play has the most weight, therefore if the referee had awarded the penalty kick, it most likely would have stood. However, it’s unlikely that VAR would have been used.
Although it is an exception in this World Cup, Saudi Arabia was handed such a lenient penalty against Poland for Krystian Bielik’s challenge on Saleh Al-Shehri.
France defeated Morocco 2-0.
Hernandez may be penalised for colliding with Boufal.
What happened: Theo Hernandez made a strong touch on the ball right inside the box in the 27th minute. The France defender was about to be challenged by Sofiane Boufal, but Hernandez touched the ball first. Mexican referee Cesar Ramos awarded Boufal a free kick and issued a booking to the Moroccan player for the challenge.
A contentious outcome, given that Boufal shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. The Moroccan player did not make a challenge, and Hernandez really kicked him. How then can play continue despite France receiving a free kick and Boufal receiving a warning?
It all depends on whether you believe Hernandez’s touch on the ball eliminated the prospect of a penalty. It can, but a touch on the ball prevents the defender from making any kind of challenge on the opponent.
The touch on the ball will serve as the VAR’s rationale, but even if the defender’s challenge is ruled to have been careless or out of control, the VAR should still be looking to recommend an overturn for a penalty kick. Hernandez plays the ball with his left foot but then strikes Boufal with his right leg; the touch on the ball and the subsequent challenge did not justify the follow-through.
With this being his sixth appointment as the primary video assistant, the VAR, Canadian Drew Fischer, has been one of the most active of the competition. When Wojciech Szczesny denied Salem Al-penalty Dawsari’s kick against Poland, he was the VAR who suggested that Saudi Arabia be given a very easy penalty. That incident felt more like a punishment than this.
Only a VAR overturn that awards a penalty would allow Boufal’s yellow card to be reversed.
France 1-2 England
Saka may have committed a foul in the run-up to Tchouameni’s goal.
Dayot Upamecano recovered the ball from Bukayo Saka just outside of his own area, which led to a break that saw Aurelien Tchouameni give France the lead in the 17th minute. However, the tackle was ruled to be illegal by VAR.
VAR ruling: Goal is upheld.
VAR evaluation The challenge must be within the attacking phase, and Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio’s failure to award a free kick must have been a blatant and evident error, according to Colombia’s VAR Nicolas Gallo.
Though time is not the primary factor in establishing the start of the offensive phase, it can have an impact. The challenge occurred 27 seconds before Tchouameni’s shot found the back of the net. It matters more whether the team that lost possession is in a position to recover the ball and whether the attacking team stopped moving forward. It’s debatable whether either of these were there, but to overturn a goal so late in a match would be unprecedented at this World Cup.
The second query concerns the actual challenge. The replays show that Saka’s left foot was caught by Upamecano, resulting in his loss of balance and possession. But was the referee’s failure to notice that a glaring and obvious error? It’s a difficult judgement, and even though a free kick should be awarded, there probably isn’t enough of a violation to warrant a VAR intervention.
Kane was possibly penalised for a foul by Upamecano.
What happened: After robbing Upamecano of the ball in the 25th minute, Harry Kane collapsed on the perimeter of the box. Play was allowed to continue by referee Sampaio despite a protracted VAR review of a penalty.
According to the VAR assessment, Upamecano definitely committed a foul by catching Kane as he entered the area on the back of his calf. But the VAR cannot judge a missed free kick; it can only decide on a penalty. Therefore, if the foul occurs on the line or in the area, it results in a penalty; if it occurs outside the area, play resumes from where it stopped.
All of this boils down to the VAR needing enough evidence to establish the location of the foul contact, exactly like when the ball was in play for Japan’s game-winning goal against Spain. The VAR will look at the location of the part of Kane’s leg that made contact that resulted in the foul in relation to the line (the line belongs to the box; if it is on it, it is a penalty). It doesn’t matter if Kane stumbles into the area or has a foot inside it when contact is made.
The VAR will use numerous synchronised cameras to the same picture to examine every viewpoint available (there are many more than what we see on television) in an effort to determine where this contact was. Only the camera square to the penalty area line can really provide the VAR with the best evidence, and the perspectives that were broadcast on television were really not conclusive. In this instance, it was determined that touch was only outside the zone or, at the very least, that there was no proof it was on the line.
But this once more demonstrates the intolerable amount of information FIFA provides about VAR rulings during games. If the referee is seated in front of the monitor, fans can only see what the VAR is seeing. Otherwise, nothing happens and everyone is left to speculate about the process. While FIFA (and UEFA, for that matter) are currently reluctant to even show fans what the team is looking at, we all want to hear the audio from the VAR room.
penalty for a foul by Hernandez on Mount reversed by VAR
What happened: In the 80th minute, Mason Mount was brought to the ground by Theo Hernandez after Jude Bellingham attempted to pass a long ball over the top to him. As the ball passed through to Hugo Lloris in the goal, referee Sampaio once more signalled play to continue, but the VAR suggested there should be a penalty.
Kane’s attempt to fire from the penalty spot went over the bar.
This was unquestionably the right choice, since Raphael Varane of France appeared to be blocking the referee’s view of the action. Hernandez plainly utilised his upper body with force to knock Mount over rather than engaging Mount shoulder to shoulder since he had no intention of playing the ball.
Hernandez received a booking, and some England players were stunned that he did not receive a red card for blocking a clear chance to score. A yellow was a fair result because Mount wasn’t in control of the ball and there is no question that he wouldn’t have received it and had a good chance to score.
Portugal losing to Morocco
Hakimi may be penalised for fouling Fernandes.
What happened: In stoppage time of the first half, Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi attempted to avoid making contact with Bruno Fernandes inside the box. Argentina’s Facundo Tello, the referee, denied requests for a penalty, but his countryman Mauro Vigliano, the video assistant referee, started an investigation
Even if there was contact between Hakimi and Fernandes, it is very impossible to tell from the footage, and even if there was, the Portugal midfielder undoubtedly exaggerated the fall. A spot kick was never expected to result in this situation since referees and VARs are constantly on the lookout for instances where an attacker might embellish the way they go to the ground in an effort to get a penalty for light contact.
El Yamiq may be charged with handball.
When Fernandes sent a cross in from the right flank in the 86th minute, Jawad El Yamiq dove low to try to head the ball away, but it struck his arm instead. Portugal’s requests for a penalty kick were ignored by the referee.
A brief and easy review of VAR. Even if the arm is away from the body, it is not a handball offence if a defender intentionally plays the ball onto their own arm. According to the reasoning behind it, if a player is executing a defensive clearance, there can be no intention to handball because the arm is not in close proximity to the body.
If the ball deflects off a defender and onto their arm, a penalty may be given, but only if the ball was played rather than deflected.
Polish 3-1 France
Upamecano’s handball penalty was overturned by the VAR.
What happened: Deep into extra time, France defender Dayot Upamecano was turning away as Kamil Grosicki attempted to cross the ball into the box. Despite the Poland winger’s claims of handball, the corner was given by Venezuelan referee Jesus Valenzuela.
Hugo Lloris stopped a Robert Lewandowski shot in the penalty area. When the penalty was kicked, the goalkeeper was off his line; as a result, the VAR ordered a retake, which the striker scored on his second attempt.
VAR review: Juan Soto, a fellow Venezuelan, was the VAR and would not have recommended a penalty if the ball had struck Upamecano on his left arm, which was tucked into his body.
Upamecano’s arm, which was extended, prevented the cross from entering the space. Even though the defender was right next to the cross when it was played, the decision may appear harsh, but it is legal.
A goalkeeper must also have at least one foot on the line or above it when a penalty is awarded, and because of Lewandowski’s feint, Lloris was well off his line at the time of the shot. This made it easy for the video assistant referee to order the retake.
Uruguay 2-0 Ghana
Refusing to overturn a penalty for a foul by Amartey on Nunez
What happened: In the 58th minute, Ghanaian defender Daniel Amartey challenged Darwin Nunez as he broke into the box. Despite the VAR’s advice, referee Siebert rejected calls for a penalty but should go to the monitor to observe the situation.
VAR review: It’s the first time the precise justification for the review has been rejected. For the second time in the tournament, a referee stayed by his initial judgement after being referred to the pitchside monitor. The referee in the Denmark vs. Tunisia match noticed an infraction during the buildup while considering a potential handball penalty.
After carefully examining the scenario from a variety of perspectives, referee Daniel Siebert came to the conclusion that he hadn’t made a glaring error in allowing play to continue.
Amartey definitely gets a toe on the ball; the only question is whether he fouled Nunez while doing so. Some views made it appear as though he caught the Uruguayan striker before the ball, but others were less certain.
Some would argue that this should have been a spot kick, but it is a close call, and you can’t contest the referee’s judgement once he’s seen all the angles and made up his mind. There is nothing wrong with Bastian Dankert, a fellow German VAR, recommending the review and its rejection. It would imply that reviews are always approved by the referee, which is obviously untrue given that they are subjective, human decisions rather than binary ones.
Prior to being dragged down, the ball had struck Nunez’s arm, but this was not considered. Instead of Ghana receiving a free kick in their own penalty area for the handball, play resumed with a dropped ball (it wasn’t out of play when the referee spotted the game for the review).
In stoppage time, Edinson Cavani and Alidu Seidu got into a physical altercation, leading to another penalty claim for Uruguay. This reminds me of Canada’s penalty claim against Belgium after Richie Laryea and Axel Witsel’s altercation. Whether the referee has awarded the penalty or not, these challenges are typically left to the on-field determination.