VAR, not football the talking point at Confederations Cup

The video assistant referee (VAR) was the main talking point following Sunday’s matches at the Confederations Cup in Russia, after the new technology was involved in a number of controversial decisions.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos appeared angry after a Pepe goal was ruled out during his team’s 2-2 draw with Mexico after a VAR review.

On 21 minutes Cristiano Ronaldo struck a free kick into the wall and when the ball was played back into the box, Ronaldo hit the crossbar before Pepe volleyed the ball into the net.

Portugal celebrated, but the game was then held up for around 40 seconds before the goal was ruled out as Pepe had been adjudged to be offside.

There was confusion and delay as several other incidents were reviewed by VAR as the new technology experienced teething troubles.

“Those are the rules and if they benefit football, great,” Santos said afterwards. “But no one has yet worked them out very well.

“It was a previous play, after Cristiano had struck the post with his shot. It was very confusing.”

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said despite the delays, the technology is good and will ultimately prove its worth.

“The doubts and hold-up are normal, but over time it will become polished and get better,” said Ochoa. “It will help unlawful goals being added to the score, for both teams. It is beneficial for fair football.”

Sunday’s other game between Chile and Cameroon was even more controversial.

The big talking point came just before half-time when Eduardo Vargas, was denied an opener after firing past Fabrice Ondoa. After a VAR review the goal was ruled out for offside by referee Damir Skomina, although replays showed it was by the finest of margins.

There was more VAR drama in the last minute as Vargas made it 2-0 to Chile after firing home from Alexis Sanchez blocked shot. Many felt the goal should not have stood as Vargas had been offside when Sanchez received the initial through ball, although the goal was eventually allowed.

Fans, unhappy with the VAR system, took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the video assistant referee.