FIFA Confederations Cup 2017: Portugal 2-2 Mexico - 5 Talking Points
Mexico grabbed an injury-time equalizer to deny Ronaldo's Portugal
Portugal and Mexico began their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign with a closely-fought contest, with El Tri grabbing a late equaliser to snatch a 2-2 draw. After VAR made its debut by ruling out Pepe’s goal for Portugal, Ricardo Quaresma profited of Cristiano Ronaldo’s pass to open the scoring, before Javier Hernandez scored a typical header to make it 1-1 going into the second half.
Cedric’s 86th minute goal looked to have won the points for Portugal, only for Hector Moreno’s header from a corner to snatch a deserved point for Mexico in injury time. The result means that Russia top Group A with 3 points, with Portugal and Mexico on 1 point each, ahead of bottom-placed New Zealand.
Here are the major talking points from the game:
#1 The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system is a boon, but needs tweaking
“I had never been in favour of VAR technology, but I must admit it’s necessary now.” – Carlo Ancelotti, after Bayern Munich lost out to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semifinals via two offside goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. VAR can change the destiny of football – Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid and Ronaldo may not have been European champions if VaR was present.
Critics of the system have always claimed that it would take too much time, but when Pepe’s goal was ruled out for offside in the 20th minute, it took all of 30 seconds. A fast decision, and more importantly, a fair one, which is what the man in the middle, Nestor Pitana, wanted.
However, the crowd had no idea what happened, and the replays and thought-process of the video assistant referees weren’t even made available to the viewing public. The potential of the system to descend into a farce was made clear after there was a delay in kickoff after Cedric’s winning goal for Portugal.
There’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water, though – the integrity of the game is much more important than a few kinks, which can be ironed out.