5 reasons why this is the best World Cup ever
If you haven’t followed the 2018 FIFA World Cup closely, then you don’t know what you are missing. The biggest sporting extravaganza on the planet is witnessing its greatest ever tournament and we have our reasons to back it up.
Right from the first game of the tournament, there have been enough incidents to send the fans into a state of frenzy.
After each passing game, the fans are stuck in a conundrum as they are unable to decide which game has been the most exciting, which incident was the most shocking, which goal was more awe-inspiring or which result was unexpected.
Twenty four teams have been eliminated and just eight remain. The next eight games promise to be equally thrilling and let’s hope that is the case. On that note, here are five reasons why this is the best World Cup ever.
#5 Video Assistant Referee
Before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the record for most penalties at a World Cup was 18 from the 1990, 1998 and 2002 editions of the World Cups. That record was smashed in the group stage of the ongoing World Cup.
After the first knockout stage, 28 penalties have been awarded by the referees of which 10 were awarded after VAR review! The introduction of the VAR has resulted in players being penalised for shirt pulling and grappling inside the box which used to go unnoticed.
The plethora of penalties have been decisive in many games and even turned the game or even a group around its head.
VAR has also been used to revoke penalties awarded by the referee. During the game between Brazil and Costa Rica, the former was awarded a penalty for an alleged foul on Neymar but the referee rescinded the penalty after VAR review. A similar incident happened in the Round of 16 game between Switzerland and Sweden when VAR review showed that the foul was outside the box.
The technology has also been used to review potential red card incidents and was notably used against Cristiano Ronaldo in a game against Iran and against Mathias Jorgensen of Denmark against Croatia.
Another area where this was used was to review offside decisions and was notably used to review Iago Aspas’ goal against Morocco which sent them top of their group.
Pierluigi Collina, the famous former referee, currently works as a member of the UEFA referees committee and the Italian has hailed the use of VAR.
According to Collina, in the 48 group stage games, 335 incidents were checked by VAR which is nearly seven per game. There were 14 on field reviews made by referees and three reviews were made by VAR team on factual decisions like offside calls.
The referees made 95% of their calls correctly and VAR has helped improve that to 99.3%.
“We have always said VAR doesn’t mean perfection – there could still be the wrong interpretation or a mistake – but I think you would agree 99.3% is very close to perfection,” said Collina.