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Across the line? Japan goal fuels VAR debate | Football news

DOHA: England’s hotly contested third goal in the 1966 World Cup final was often cited as the sort of incident that VAR would erase from the game forever, but Japan‘s victory over Spain on Thursday sparked another “did it cross the line?” debate.
Kaoru Mitoma‘s cut for Ao Tanaka to put Japan ahead 2-1 was initially judged by the referee to be from outside the field of play, but the referee reversed his decision after lengthy VAR consultation.
TV and still images immediately flooded the internet, apparently with clear green grass between the ball and the line before winger Mitoma could play it back to his teammate.
Retired Spanish referee Iturralde Gonzalezhowever, said such incidents were not always visible to the naked eye and expressed full confidence in FIFA’s technology.
“It’s a matter of perspective, which makes the images very tricky. The perspective that’s clear is from above and the belly of the ball is very big,” he said.
“If there’s a little bit of it in the field, it’s in the game. Anyone can take and use the shot they want, it doesn’t matter, but the ball didn’t go out.”
While the laws require part of the ball to be on the line to remain in play, this does not mean that the ball must touch the ground, as the curvature of the ball over the white line also counts.
As with Geoff Hurst’s strike at Wembley 56 years ago, Germany was the country most impacted by the decision. Germany would have been through to the last 16 had the Japan-Spain match finished as a 1–1 draw, but gone home instead.
FIFA, which declined to comment on the incident on Friday, has invested heavily in VAR technology since its introduction at the World Cup in Russia four years ago.
The match ball now contains a chip that transmits data 500 times per second to the VAR operating room, while 12 cameras in each stadium monitor 29 points on each player’s body.
A simulation of offside decisions is later shown in the stadium and to TV viewers, but unlike in England’s Premier League, fans cannot see the footage VAR officials are considering or hear their deliberations.
Former Scottish midfielder Graeme Souness said FIFA needed to be more transparent about VAR decisions.
“There are 80 million Germans going crazy right now, waiting for a picture to show the ball hasn’t gone out of play,” he told ITV.
“Why create confusion and not want to clear it up right away?”
MARGINAL CALLS
While most will accept the evidence when and if it is produced, others are concerned about how VAR is being used at this World Cup to overturn fringe calls from referees about incidents not involving technology before.
Two of the tournament’s most notable penalties, involving Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Leo Messi, were highly debatable decisions, one given initially and one waved off by the referee.
Robert Wurtz, regarded by many as the best Frenchman to ever wave a whistle, said FIFA was at risk of fatally undermining match officials.
“If I have to decide on a penalty in the fifth minute and I say ‘It’s a penalty’ and then the VAR says to me ‘No, it’s not a penalty’ then my authority is gone,” the 80-year-old said. year-old to L. ‘Elzas newspaper.
“So how can I get the respect of the players for the remaining 85 minutes?”
This is all the more a possibility when decisions are highly technical and subjective, such as deciding whether a defender has made a “deliberate move” on the ball and has therefore taken an opponent offside or not.
In chaotic scenes at the end of France’s final group stage match against Tunisia, VAR had Antoine Griezmann disallow a late equalizer because a defender’s header was not intentional.
Wurtz also voiced the argument against the increasing use of technology in performing on aesthetic grounds, a prime example after the Griezmann goal was scratched only after the final whistle had blown.
“When you see a goal and the crowd hugs, you celebrate and then you look at it from every angle and finally say, ‘No, there’s no goal,'” he said.
“Where is the dramatic intensity you have in an opera or in a Greek tragedy? Now we want to correct everything. That’s not the kind of football I like, that’s like a beautiful play.”



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