Fifa’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) claimed the spotlight for all the wrong reasons at the Confederations Cup in Russia yesterday when the on-field official’s decision resulted in the wrong man getting sent off before the players intervened in Germany’s 3-1 win over Cameroon last night.
Germany eased into the Confederations Cup semi-finals but it was the VAR which hogged the headlines. Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan consulted the VAR after a reckless high challenge by Ernest Mabouka on Germany’s Emre Can saw Sebastien Siani wrongly receive a yellow card in a case of mistaken identity.
But even then Roldan did not come up with the right outcome as he simply switched the colour of midfielder Siani’s card from yellow to red. It was only after Cameroon’s players insisted he
It was only after Cameroon’s players insisted he review the incident again that he realised his error, rescinded Siani’s sending off and instead flashed the red card to the correct culprit Mabouka.
“I think we need to get used to it,” Germany coach Joachim Low said. “In some cases it has proved useful when it came to the offside rule and awarding a goal or not.I think it can be fine-tuned over time so decisions can be made more quickly. That would be great.”
On Saturday, in Russia’s 2-1 defeat to Mexico, there was a lengthy delay before referee Fahad Al Mirdasi consulted with the VAR after an appeal for a spot-kick. Play had continued for more than 40 seconds before he consulted the video official.
The Saudi official subsequently decided Araujo had not brought down Fedor Smolov. It begged the question as to what would occur if a goal had been scored in the intervening time?
Kerem Demirbay and Timo Werner both scored their first senior international goals for Germany to book their place in the Confederations Cup semi-finals.
Hoffenheim midfielder Demirbay marked his full debut by breaking the deadlock early in the second half at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi and RB Leipzig striker Werner’s brace sandwiched Vincent Aboubakar’s header for Cameroon.
Germany, who beat Austrailia 3-2 in their opening match before drawing with Chile, squandered a host of second-half chances, but saw the game out comfortably to finish top of Group B and set up a last-four clash with Mexico on Thursday. For Low, it was his 100th victory as coach of Die Mannschaft in what was his 150th game in charge.
Meanwhile Chile survived a scare to reach the semi-finals Cup with a 1-1 draw against Australia in Moscow.
Australia needed a win by two clear goals to advance to the last four at Chile’s expense and — in a combative first-half display which saw three Australians booked, including captain Tim Cahill on his 100th appearance for his country — they led at the break through James Troisi’s goal.
However, substitute Martin Rodriguez’s first international goal spared Chile’s blushes and they follow Germany out of Group B and through to the next round.
Chile started well with a wave off attacks which saw Brighton’s new goalkeeper Matthew Ryan save from Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas.
Alexis Sanchez wanted a penalty when he fell under a challenge from Mark Milligan but the VAR system showed it was an excellent tackle from the Australian defender.
Claudio Bravo denied Massimo Luongo from close range as Australia began to make chances, before Troisi’s deft finish, clipping the ball over the advancing Chile goalkeeper, gave them the lead after 42 minutes.
Trent Sainsbury spurned a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in first-half injury time when he blasted a volley over the crossbar from eight yards.
Ryan repelled efforts from Vargas and Sanchez early in the second half as Chile threatened an equaliser, which eventually came after 67 minutes when Rodriguez poked the ball home from close range from Vargas’ downward header.
Both teams had chances to win it, with Vargas heading wide from six yards out and Ryan McGowan missing from similar range at the other end. Chile will play Portugal in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
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