The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) used in the Russia World Cup has been praised by many, but also strongly criticized by some. One of those who does not see the benefit of VAR is Iran’s coach, Carlos Queiroz. The Portuguese-born manager says the new system has not only created confusion but also, according to him, taken the game away from the fans.
Queiroz and his squad have been at the mercy of VAR a few times during this tournament including having a goal scored by Iran disallowed in stoppage time against Spain last week. But the controversies involving the video system during the match his team played on Monday against Portugal had Queiroz livid.
Paraguay’s referee Enrique Caceres had to overrule crucial decisions that may have contributed, according to Queiroz, to Iran’s elimination from the World Cup.
In the 50th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo was tripped by an Iranian defender inside the penalty box and while the referee, at first, asked him to get up, he was told from the VAR officials to review the footage. A few minutes went by before Caceres handed the penalty to Portugal. Cristiano's subsequent effort from the spot was saved.
Later, Ronaldo pushed Iranian player Morteza Pouraliganji, who fell on the ground. The Paraguayan referee checked the footage which showed Ronaldo actually elbowing Pouraliganji in the face. Even though the Portuguese star should have received a red card for the offense, Caceres only pulled out a yellow card, a decision that infuriated Queiroz.
“You stop the game for VAR, there is an elbow. Elbow. Elbow is a red card in the rules, the rules don’t say if it’s Messi or Ronaldo,” said Queiroz .
Queiroz though has not criticized the last play checked by VAR in that game when Portugal’s Cedric Soares’ stopped with his arm a header by Iran’s Sarda Azmoun. To everyone’s surprise, the Paraguayan referee gave Iran a penalty only after first ignoring it and then being told to watch the replay on the VAR. Iran managed to score for the final 1-1 result.
Queiroz claims that making mistakes is human but what VAR was doing was inhumane. He even compared FIFA's directive for VAR to only correct clear and obvious mistakes to his worrying about his daughter being a little bit pregnant or not.
It's a question of principle - nobody understands the rules, he said. The game cannot move in this direction.
Queiroz is not the only one upset at the new technology. Some of the Moroccan players are still wondering about Spain’s second goal in the game they tied 2-2 on Monday against the 2010 world champions.
Dani Carvajal's cross to Iago Aspas inside the box for the goal was taken from the wrong corner. The referee clearly pointed on the left side when Morocco conceded the corner. But just a second later, Spain’s player was seen taking the corner from the right. Even after several VAR reviews to confirm the onside position of Aspas, the violation was never detected. At the end of that game, Morocco star Nordin Amrabat, distressed with the video technology, appeared to label VAR bull**** in front of the camera that followed him to the locker room.