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Not all of the World Cup’s technical difficulties are coming from Optus

Monday - 18/06/2018 09:18
JUST a handful of days into the World Cup a debacle the likes of which we’ve never seen before is being painfully exposed.

OPTUS isn’t the only one having teething problems at this World Cup.

The telecommunications company — which secured exclusive rights to broadcast the tournament Down Under — has been slammed by fans who have been unable to watch streams of matches because of repeated technical failures.

Latest: SBS to air World Cup for next 48 hours

But technical difficulties haven’t been limited to Australia. This year’s World Cup in Russia is the first to use VAR technology to review decisions — and just a handful of days in it’s clear the system is responsible for as many problems as it is solutions.

Read: Karl savages ‘hopeless’ Optus

Australian Josh Risdon became the first player in World Cup history to give away a penalty after the intervention of the VAR when the referee in the Socceroos’ 2-1 loss to France initially called play on before reviewing his call and awarding a spot-kick, which Antoine Griezmann converted.

The Aussie players and former great turned SBS football analyst Craig Foster didn’t believe it was a foul but ex-Socceroos defender Craig Moore said after viewing replays, he agreed with the penalty call.

Read: Aussies cry blue murder

There was also controversy when a Diego Costa goal stood for Spain in its tournament opener against Portugal. Whistleblower Gianluca Rocchi used the VAR and deemed Costa had not fouled Pope just before receiving the ball, even though football fans around the globe argued the Spaniard elbowed the defender in the face and knocked him to the ground.

While those are instances are of people disagreeing on the outcome of a VAR review, one of the biggest problems this World Cup has exposed has been the lack of clarity in when to actually call for a replay.

The referee in the Argentina vs Iceland clash didn’t go to the VAR to take a closer look when Christian Pavon went down inside the box. It was ruled play on but replays showed an Iceland defender clipped him and brought him to ground.

Pavon appeals for a penalty.
Pavon appeals for a penalty.Source:AFP

Former Socceroo Alex Wilkinson can’t understand why some 50-50 calls are being reviewed while others aren’t.

“The way it’s implemented is a little bit confusing and needs to be a little bit clearer,” Wilkinson told Optus Sport on the weekend.

“That’s what I don’t understand. Why isn’t the person up top saying, ‘You’ve got to look at this’?”

Fellow Optus Sport analyst and former Premier League and A-League star Michael Bridges was adamant Pavon deserved a penalty.

“It was a blatant penalty and that didn’t go to VAR,” he said. “This didn’t go to VAR.

“Why (use the VAR) for the Socceroos and why not for this one?”

In Monday morning’s 1-1 draw between Brazil and Switzerland, the South Americans had reason to feel hard done by when two decisions went against them. When Steven Zuber headed home for the Swiss equaliser five minutes into the second half but there was a suggestion he pushed Miranda in the back to create extra space for himself. Despite Brazil’s appeals, the referee chose not to use the VAR.

Socceroos great Paul Okon told Optus Sport: “Zuber actually pushes Miranda under the ball. He’s not able to challenge, he can’t jump.

“If Miranda falls down on the ground then maybe it does go to VAR.

“If we didn’t have VAR we probably wouldn’t be discussing it.

“Brazil can feel hard done by that the referee didn’t have another look at it.”

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 Key: World Cup

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