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Video replays help Spain in 2-0 win over France as two offside decisions are overturned

France Spain video replays
Referee Felix Swayer asks video assistance during the friendly match between France and Spain
Rohith Nair

What’s the story?

Spain beat France 2-0 in an international friendly match at the Stade de France on Tuesday night and the biggest talking point of the game was the use of video replays. Goals from David Silva and Gerard Deulofeu gave Spain the win but the game could easily have ended 1-1 if the referee and match officials’ original decisions had been allowed to stand.

The Video Assistant Replay (VAR) system played a crucial role in the result after it first disallowed a goal for France in the second half. Soon after, it allowed a goal that was flagged offside to stand.

In case you didn’t know...

FIFA have been experimenting with video technology and the friendly match between the two European powerhouses was yet another stage to test the technology and see if it was a feasible option going forward.

Also read: FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants video replays at 2018 World Cup

Both the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the French Football Federation (FFF) had agreed to use video replays to help match officials make decisions on goals, close offside calls (in case a goal is scored), penalty decisions, red cards and helping referees identify the correct player who needs to be penalised.

The heart of the matter

The first instance when it was used saw France’s goal disallowed. Les Bleus seemed to have taken the lead in the 48th minute when Antoine Griezmann headed home from the edge of the six-yard box after he was set up by Layvin Kurzawa. The players had started celebrating their goal and even the stadium announcer got into the act by whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

However, the referee consulted with the VAR officials and replays showed that Kurzawa was marginally offside when the cross came into the box. Hence, the goal was disallowed and Spain were allowed to restart the game from their own box.

Soon after, Spain had scored from the spot after Laurent Koscielny conceded a penalty at the other end. David Silva stepped up and sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way to open the scoring.

Less than 10 minutes after the opening goal, Spain doubled the lead via a counter-attack that saw Jordi Alba find Gerard Deulofeu at the far post with a sublime cross. But as Spain celebrated the goal, the linesman’s flag went up for offside.

VAR came to the rescue again and replays showed that Deulofeu was not offside and the goal was allowed to stand – much to the chagrin of the home supporters.

Author’s take

While most popular sports have embraced video technology and the use of replays to come to the correct decision, it was understandable why football was so slow to catch up with the times. In both cases, the game was stopped for a few seconds while the VAR officials deliberated on each decision.

However, the fact that they came to the correct decision on both occasions to overturn two wrong decisions proves that the system is needed in football. As long as replays are used only when required (and not for each and every debatable decision), VAR has a future in football.



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Edited by Staff Editor

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