Whether you love it or hate it, the reality is that we have VAR at the World Cup. With the 2022 tournament already steeped in controversy, it appears that the use of the video assistant referee is only adding to this.
While it’s hard to believe that, with how tech has progressed, VAR can get it wrong, it has certainly led to decisions that both players and fans are less than happy with. We’ll take a look at the stats that exist so far during this World Cup before moving on to some of these decisions in a little more detail.
Here’s a look at what we’ve seen at World Cup 2022 with the involvement of VAR:
Number of overturns: 21
Overturns rejected: 1
Overturns leading to goals: 6
Overturns leading to goals being disallowed: 9
Penalties awarded by VAR: 7
Goals disallowed for offside: 8
Goals awarded after incorrect offside: 1
Red cards: 1
It was the 51st minute of the game when Japan thought that they had it all wrapped up. At this time, Ao Tanaka hit home to take Japan into the lead, only for the referee to disallow the goal because it had gone out of play. Less than happy with the decision, it was then down to VAR to give a definitive answer.
VAR ruled that the ball had stayed in play and that the goal should stand. This meant that Japan kept the lead and won the match. Many questioned just how reliable this decision was as TV cameras appeared to show things a little differently. Regardless, the goal stood, and this decision ultimately led to Germany’s early exit from the tournament.
This VAR decision centres on Germany’s final goal, which came via Niclas Fullkrug. His close-range strike was disallowed by the assistant referee, with the striker ruled as being offside. The VAR review showed something different from what the assistant referee had seen.
The goal was allowed to stand as VAR ruled that, although Fullkrug had been in an offside position, he wasn’t active at the time. By the time Sane chested the ball across the goal, Fullkrug had stepped back behind the ball, so there was no way that he could then be offside.
It was the 15th minute, and the decision made here could well have changed the end result. With Kramaric inside the area, the referee ruled that he was caught by Carrasco and so pointed to the penalty spot. However, before there was a chance for the penalty to be taken, the decision was referred to VAR.
VAR reviewed the build-up to the incident and noted that Lovern had been offside. This meant that the play should have stopped before the foul in the box. This saw the penalty decision being overturned, and the match ended goallessly.