So, it’s happened, we didn’t even have to wait for a latter later match, VAR reared its head in the first match of the tournament. The first half no less.
The offside decision against Griedge Mbock is one that will cause even more debates as it was exceptionally fractional as the defender raced back from an offside position to meet Wendie Renard’s header. Her volley was a sublime one and was taken like a seasoned attacker rather than a centre back.
The celebrations started in earnest, the team joining together to dance and lift the noise in the Parc des Princes another few decibels. The ball went to the centre and the noise calmed but wait, there was a question. Was Mbock on or offside? The signal went up, the invisible rectangle drawn in the air and the touch to the earphone on the side of the referees head, there was an inquisition.
If real time it looked touch and go, the video replays suggest she was onside but slowed down to the briefest of microseconds and there is was, the defender was a half centimetre offside. The goal was ruled out and the ball went back to the goalkeeper. Just like that – a slow just like that – two-nil had been reduced back to one-nil.
The French didn’t let the disallowed goal slow them down and the hosts ultimately went in at the break three goals to the good but it felt like it took too long – even Corine Diacre noted in the dugout, the review felt like it was taking too long. Waiting for the yay or nay, she knew it was going to be denied.
Down to the purest rule of the game, Mbock was offside and yes, she was technically gaining an advantage but it’s beyond a damp squib to disallow the goal. There were no boos from the stands, no big protestations from the players, just, “Okay then.”
VAR with the controvacy but without the controversy; it’s arrived in women’s football.
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