World Cup VAR review: Griezmann penalty, Miranda push & all the major incidents at Russia 2018


Verdict: Wrong call

Argentina got their World Cup campaign off to a disappointing start as they were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw against tournament newcomers Iceland in their opening match and there was a controversial penalty claim waved away without consulting VAR.

The Albiceleste took the lead through Sergio Aguero but were pegged back almost immediately by Alfred Finnbogason. They looked certain to move in front once more when Maxi Meza won a penalty in the second half, but Lionel Messi could not direct his spot-kick past Hannes Halldorsson.

With time running out, substitute Cristian Pavon appeared to be fouled inside the box by Birkir Saevarsson, but a second penalty was not awarded by the unmoved Szymon Marciniak, prompting disbelief among the Argentine players.

The absence of VAR in that particular incident was incorrect according to many commentators, with former England defender Gary Neville suggesting that the officials are not capable of viewing the footage quickly enough to ensure the correct call is made. 

“To me, there is a capability issue here over what we’re asking the referees in that VAR truck to do,” Neville told ITV.

“I don’t know what’s going on in those trucks, but that’s the thing they need to be transparent about and show us.

“I’m not sure they will be able to select the angles quickly enough to get the decision back to the referee before the game has been restarted.”

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