By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Whether or not you agree with referee Nestor
Pitana’s decision to award France a penalty for handball after
consulting with the Video Assistant Referee in the 37th
minute of the World Cup final, probably depends on whether you
are French or Croatian, but there is little doubt that when the
Argentinean pointed to the penalty spot it meant that VAR is
here to stay.
There is no doubt
that Antoine Griezmann’s corner hit Ivan Perisic’s outstretched
arm, but if it was intentional, or whether the Croatian was
merely surprised by Balise Matudi failing to make contact with
the ball is questionable.
looked at the video and probably made decision which allowed
Griezmann to put France 2-1 ahead in the Luzhniki Stadium.
VAR has been a
constant factor in the World Cup and it is the third time the
French have benefitted from its use; being awarded a penalty
against Australia in their opening game and with Paul Pogba’s
winning strike in the same match adjudged to have crossed the
If VAR hadn’t
existed, how different could the World Cup have been? Well
perhaps France wouldn’t have won their group and would have
faced Croatia, not in the final, but in the last 16 instead of
Denmark, who would have taken on Argentina and Leo Messi and
then perhaps Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
It could have been a
very different World Cup, but with the VAR system in place, even
though it will take time to get used to (for fans, player and
officials), we can be more confident that the right result is
Just don’t say that