Fifa finally release footage that proves Japan's goal was legitimate

Fifa have released showing the ball was still on the line as Kaoru Mitoma crossed it for Ao Tanaka to score for Japan against Germany
Fifa have released showing the ball was still on the line as Kaoru Mitoma crossed it for Ao Tanaka to score for Japan against Germany

Fifa have finally revealed the footage they used to overturn the decision to disallow Japan’s winning goal against Spain on Thursday - 20 hours after the controversial incident which helped to send Germany crashing out of the World Cup.

The world governing body tweeted a video on Friday that showed the images the VAR Fernando Guerrero and his assistants had used to determine the ball had not gone out of play before Kaoru Mitoma crossed for Ao Tanaka to score in Japan’s 2-1 victory

But the video prompted the former Manchester United and England defender, Gary Neville, who is working as a pundit for host broadcaster BeIN Sports in Qatar, to question why television companies were not being given live access to the same footage.

“Why don’t you allow access to the real-time angles and footage that VAR officials are looking at to broadcasters?” Neville tweeted.

Fans were also denied access to the same images in the Khalifa International Stadium, which only added to the shock and confusion when the goal was the angles being circulated on social media appeared to show the ball was out.

In two tweets on Friday afternoon, Fifa said the “video match officials used the goal line camera images to check if the ball was still partially on the line or not” and accompanied the messages with an assortment of video images that appeared to show the ball was in by millimetres.

They added that, while “other cameras may offer misleading images”, the officials had decided that “on the evidence available, the whole of the ball was not out of play”.

The news comes with Fifa’s referees’ chiefs expected to convene next week when they are likely to be grilled over some of the controversial Video Assistant Referee decisions that have sparked widespread debate in Qatar.

Other controversies include the decision to award Argentina a penalty in their 2-0 win over Poland after Wojciech Szczesny’s glove brushed Lionel Messi’s face and a last gasp equaliser from Antoine Griezmann in France’s 1-0 defeat to Tunisia being ruled out for offside. France are filing a complaint to Fifa over that incident.

Pierluigi Collina, Fifa’s referees’ committee chairman, Massimo Busacca, the referees’ department head, and the world governing body’s director of football technology and innovation Johannes Holzmuller are due to hold a press conference in which they run the rule over some of the big talking points from the group stage and Round of 16 matches.

A formal date for the meeting has yet to be set although sources have indicated it could take place on Wednesday or Thursday, which will serve as rest days before the quarter-finals are due to commence.

Collina, Busacca and Holzmuller held a press conference on the eve of the tournament at which they discussed the introduction of semi-automated offside technology (SOAT) and inertial measurement unit (IMU) motion sensors in the Al Rihla balls, both of which have been designed to help make faster, more accurate offside decisions.

But, despite the enhanced use of technology at this tournament, Var has been at the centre of a series of controversies over the past fortnight.