VARCE – the world cup blog


it’s not only the technology that’s disappointed at the tournament so far

This World Cup is VARs maiden outing at the competition and it’s fair to say that it’s already causing certain division amongst fans across the various social media platforms.

You could also say, the vast majority are not in favour of the technology; however, I do accept the merits on why it is being used. It’s the same as anything else though where referees are concerned; it’s all down to their interpretation of the said individual incident.

For example, the incidents in the England vs Tunisia match involving Harry Kane. On one occasion he was rugby tackled and the other he was in a chokehold that any WWE wrestler would be proud of. So if the VAR team are reviewing every incident, what stopped them from having a word in the ref’s ear regarding those incidents?

It’s that kind of inconsistency that blights refereeing that will continually annoy fans and coaches alike, as the use of VAR evolves and becomes more prominent in the domestic leagues around the world. We saw the ref give a penalty on Saturday night for a similar incident during Croatia’s match vs Nigeria. The team of refs, on-field and the video refs, had no excuses.

Referees, though, no one loves them, do they?

(Careful Jamie, 4lads very own Stevie is a qualified referee….)

Furthermore, I feel another drawback of the VAR system is how it interferes with the flow of the game. It’s not good that a team can advance to the edge of their opponents box before a decision is reviewed by the ref and the penalty is given or not. If this is to be implemented properly, not only do the team of refs have to be able to make the correct decisions, incidents such as penalty calls must be dealt with immediately to avoid disruption to general play.

My early thoughts on it so far are that I don’t particularly like it. However, if over time the governing bodies of referees can iron out the issues I discussed above, then I would be more open to it.

At the end of the day, it’s about getting the big decisions right, without turning the game into an NFL style stop-start sport. That’s what I am looking for from the technology. If that cannot be achieved over a certain period then VAR should be no more.

Having said that, it has to be given a fair crack to see ‘how’ and ‘if’ it will be able to enhance the game and give the assistance to the men in the middle.

Moving away from VAR and onto the football, it’s not been a good opening week for the pre-tournament favourites. In fact, Fernando Hierro’s Spanish side are the only one of the ‘big guns’ who have impressed me thus far.

They have played the best football and only a David de Gea error away from beating Portugal. What impressed me most about this version of the Spanish side is that they can now combine their possession and the rotation of the front players with the ability to mix it up and they possess a genuine threat in front of goal, with Diego Costa leading the line.

I feel at this early stage they look the most equipped to win the tournament. It’s still early days, but the Germans, Brazilians, French, despite their victory, and co. will have to up their performance levels to touch the Spanish.

If they can do that, the next three weeks will be an exciting watch.

Jamie Currie