Football

Why Croatia didn’t get a VAR penalty for Amrabat’s challenge

Why Croatia didn’t get a VAR penalty for Amrabat’s challenge
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We’re analyzing every VAR decision made throughout all 64 games at the 2022 World Cup. Croatia thought they should have got a VAR penalty vs. Morocco for Sofyan Amrabat’s tackle on Josko Gvardiol, but their appeals were turned down.

After each game, we take a look at the major incidents to examine and explain the process both in terms of VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.

– World Cup VAR review in full: Every decision analyzed

Possible penalty: Amrabat challenge on Gvardiol

What happened: In the 75th minute, Gvardiol got in front of Amrabat inside the area and appeared to be clipped. Qatari referee Abdulrahman al-Jassim waved away the appeals and play continued for over a minute while a VAR review took place in the background.

VAR decision: No penalty.

VAR review: This all comes down to the motives of the attacker being very important in any VAR review for a penalty.

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The VAR, Julio Bascunan of Chile, should look for contact, ask if that contact has a consequence, and consider if the attacking player used that contact to try to win a penalty. Contact alone is not sufficient.

Was Gvardiol caught by Amrabat? Absolutely.

Did this contact cause Gvardiol to go to ground in the way he did? Probably not.

After the contact on his left foot, Gvardiol takes a step to control the ball with his left foot and then drags his right foot along the turf — the VAR will specifically look for this — and theatrically goes to ground. This is a textbook example of a player trying to give the impression of a level of contact and effectively simulate the fall.

If the referee had given the spot kick it probably would have stood, because the decision on the pitch carries most weight, but it’s unlikely to be given through VAR.

There was a soft decision in this World Cup given to Saudi Arabia against Poland, for Krystian Bielik’s challenge on Saleh al-Shehri, though that is an outlier in this tournament.

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