FIFA have released footage of the controversial goal by Japan against Spain, which knocked Germany out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The VAR era in modern football has, more often than not, thrown the outcome of matches and referee decisions into controversies, with fans worried that the benchmarks of increased automation of the game leave much to be desired.
The Group E of the 2022 World Cup was wide open as teams headed into the last round of group games. All teams had almost equal chances of qualifying for the next round of the tournament, with all eyes set on the last group game to decide who qualifies from the group.
Despite securing only one point from two games, the odds favor the Germans going into the last game. They were tipped to beat Costa Rica while counting on Spain to defeat Japan.
Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2 but was greeted with a surprise result from Japan Vs Spain game.
The 2010 champions suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan, knocking Germany out of the tournament.
However, the goal saw Japan grab all three points which generated controversies among fans and pundits.
The ball seemed to have gone out of play in the build-up before Ao Tanaka poked it home to give Japan the lead.
After a lengthy VAR consultation, the goal was upheld, but there were still controversies, with some football fans insisting it was not a goal.
Japan’s Kaoru Mitoma was at the center of the controversy. He gave the assist that led to the goal, and many thought the referee would have instead awarded a freekick to Spain instead of the goal after it appeared Mitoma caught up late with the ball.
However, FIFA have released a new video proving pundits and fans otherwise. The video shows that Mitoma actually got to the ball before it crossed the line.
From the video, while much of the ball had indeed crossed the line, a fraction of it was still in play – and that’s all that was needed for the goal to be given.
Alongside the posted video, FIFA wrote: ‘Japan’s second goal in their 2-1 win over Spain was checked by VAR to determine if the ball had gone out of play.
‘The video match officials used the goal line camera images to check if the ball was still partially on the line or not.
‘Other cameras may offer misleading images, but on the evidence available, the whole of the ball was not out of play.’
Controversial VAR decisions in the 2022 World Cup
The Mitoma incident, while again proving the right decision, was not the first at the Qatar World Cup to create confusion among those watching on.
Football fans were shocked when Ecuador had a goal ruled out by VAR against the host nation for offside in the tournament opener before definite evidence of the infringement was eventually shown.
However, the correct decision was again reached. Most pundits have hinged on the need to reach decisions in real-time during matches.
Meanwhile, the controversial goal by Japan sees the South Asians qualify for the round of 16, while Germany suffered a shock group stage exit.