Two controversial late decisions on Monday changed the shape of the World Cup knockout round. And both were made with the help of VAR.
VAR is soccer’s excellent but oft-maligned video review system. It awarded Iran a stoppage-time penalty against Portugal, and overturned an offside call on Spain that allowed a Spanish goal to stand. The former was arguable, and probably harsh on Portugal. The latter indisputably correct.
But it crushed Morocco’s spirits nonetheless. And Moroccan winger Nordin Amrabat … well, he appears to have an opinion on VAR:
Nordin Amrabat lets the world know what he thinks of VAR… pic.twitter.com/0ZhQHk6Av4
— Myron Naicker (@myronnaicker) June 25, 2018
It doesn’t take an expert lip-reader to tell what Amrabat is saying. But, if you need some help …
“VAR. It’s bull—-.”
But, while his frustration is completely understandable, it’s misguided. Because the final call was correct. Iago Aspas was onside when he flicked home Spain’s equalizer:
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 25, 2018
VAR did exactly what it’s supposed to do: It corrected an error. As Spanish attacker Isco said after the game: “This is what VAR is for, for the days like today when they don’t take a point away from you that you’ve earned. It would be unfair to go home because of an injustice.”
Amrabat, conveniently, provided a now-high-profile example of the problem with most VAR criticism: It has basically become a three-letter acronym that attracts all anger, even when it isn’t actually at fault. When referees make debatable calls, fans on the wrong end of them blast VAR for not overturning it, rather than the ref himself for making what they feel is an incorrect call.
Amrabat doesn’t even have that excuse, though. He’s just wrong. VAR was right.
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