Wilmar Roldan and his assistants were wrong – England should have had two penalties versus Tunisia.
In the 34th minute, England complained about the penalty awarded against Walker, however, Walker should know better, you can’t be raising your arms like that in the penalty area, you’re giving the referee a reason to blow up.
However, this wasn’t where the officials got it wrong. VAR failed England in the 39th and 51st minute of the game. Not long after Tunisia had drawn level, a free kick from the left caused mayhem in the box and a Harry Maguire header nearly led to a goal. However, VAR should have recommended a review to the referee then he would have gone and checked the monitor for the foul on Harry Kane.
Similar to the rugby tackle on Mario Mandzukic in the Croatia v Nigeria game, Harry was hauled down, a clear penalty decision as Sassi, the Tunisian, wasn’t even looking at the ball when the cross came in.
It’s a clear penalty. As a defender, you can’t turn your back to the ball, you’re asking for trouble.
Meriah then gave the referee a chance to make up for his earlier mistake when he again bundled Harry Kane to the ground 51st minute, however, once again the referee waved the appeals away.
Despite justice being done in the end, it’s essential we get VAR right. The VAR needs to be consistent and the referees still need to make the key match decisions and not overly rely on VAR.
Don’t get me wrong, in the long run, VAR will benefit football with its transparency and fairness, however, VAR has been inconsistent in this tournament so far. More time is needed to train and educate referees on the use of VAR and being used to the IFAB protocol.
Let’s hope England’s remaining games don’t have as much controversy…
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Also published on Medium.