Ever since its global launch at the World Cup, VAR still divides opinions. Most of it is because of the time it takes to arrive at a decision and a fear of machinery failure. Wednesday's Champions League tie between Schalke and Manchester City had both. It took VAR three minutes and a technical failure before coming to a decision.
According to some, VAR marks the 'Americanization' of the sport. Whereas some claim that it slows the game down thus killing the atmosphere. This 'killing the atmosphere' thing can be considered when thinking about lower leagues or some grounds where huge TV screens are not available. Old Trafford to name one. Also, football is all about uncertainty. Every single element of football is hard, stressful and miserable. The only release you have is the pure unadulterated joy of seeing your team score which VAR takes away.
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But looking at the other side, what VAR gives is a fair result which is 'probably' the most important thing. The question at this point of time is not 'if VAR should be used or not?' It is 'how VAR should be used?' Since four of Europe's top five leagues are already using it with English Premier League in contention to introduce it from next season, it's quite certain that VAR is here to stay.
This seems to be a tricky question whose answer we'll get only in future. What we can't stop thinking about is what major footballing errors could've been avoided had VAR been introduced earlier. Here are five of dubious mistakes where VAR could've come in handy:Three Cards Too Much
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Whether you're a player or a referee it is always a big thing when you're called up for the World Cup. Some handle it like a walk in the park while for others it turns out to be a mammoth task. For English Referee, Graham Poll it proved to be the latter.
It was Croatia vs Australia, Poll booked Croatia's Josip Simunic in the second half and then again in the 90th minute, but for some strange reason failed to brand out a red card. He booked him again for the third time and finally handed over him marching orders.
Though Australia went on to qualify but FIFA admitted that they could've asked for a replay if the result would've been different. Poll meanwhile was sent home and retired from the game a year later. You had one job, Graham.2. Stephen Kiessling's Ghost Goal
Stephen Kiessling has had a decent if not spectacular career in the German topflight. Scoring 146 goals for Nurenberg and Bayer Leverkusen. But his name came into the headlines when he scored a truly remarkable goal against Hoffenheim back in 2013.
1-0 up, Leverkusen won a corner and ball found the big German, who could only direct his header into the side netting. Disappointed, the former Germany international put his head in his hands, but unfortunately for Hoffenheim, there was a hole in the net and ball went through it into the goal. Referee Felix Brych, simply seeing the keeper picking the ball out of the onion bag assumed it had gone in and Leverkusen led 2-0.
After the match, Leverkusen's sporting director, Rudi Voller said,” Hoffenheim's owner has spent so much money on such a beautiful stadium, you think he would be able to spend a few more Euro's on a decent net.” Ouch!3. German Tragedy vs English Karma
If there is one word to describe England's major tournament performances since the World Cup 1966 it has to be 'tragic' (exclude 2018). It was the final of that World Cup that started it all. With the score locked at 2-2 after 90 minutes, the match went into extra time. A pass from Alan Ball set up Geoff Hurst. His fierce strike struck the bar and bounced on the line. The English celebrated and Germans protested. But after consulting his linesman, Swiss Referee Gottfried Dienst gave the goal.
Germany pressed up in search of an equaliser and skipper Bobby Moore sprang Hurst once again, who netted England's fourth. This time putting the result beyond doubt.
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It was World Cup 2010 and England and Germany met again, this time in the second round. Germans with their young but immensely talented squad were 2-0 up when England grabbed one back through Matthew Upson. With the halftime fast approaching, Frank Lampard struck a dipping volley from the edge of the box which left Manuel Neuer rooted to his spot. The ball struck the bar and bounced down into the goal before spinning and coming back onto the field. Uruguayan referee, Jorge Larrionda waved play on and Germany went on to dominate the second half, winning the game 4-1. Karma proved to be a b**ch even after 44 years.4. Ram - Shayam Syndrome
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Arsene Wenger's 1000th game as Arsenal boss came against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, it ended in a 6-0 defeat after his side was reduced to 10 men in the first 20 minutes.
After going 2-0 up and having Arsenal on ropes, there was no stopping Chelsea and Eden Hazard. When the Belgian curled a shot around Wojciech SzczÄsny, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain was covering before he turned the ball wide using his hands. Clear red card offense.
Cut to referee Andre Mariner, who sent off Kieran Gibbs. Bizzare scenes followed in which the Ox tried to get himself sent off but Mariner stuck to his guns. To add insult to injury, replay showed that Hazard's shot was going wide.5. Hand Of Fraud
No list of 'football's biggest blunders' will ever be complete without this. Again it was England, again it was World Cup, with Diego Maradona being the beneficiary of some dodgy refereeing. At 0-0 an English defender spooned the ball into his own box and the world's greatest player ran through on goal. Realising his 5′2″ frame was not enough to beat keeper Peter Shilton, Maradona leapt into the air, lifting his head to nudge the ball past English keeper, and into the net. England went mad as the referee gave the goal.
Four minutes later, Maradona went on to score one of the greatest solo goals the game has ever seen and Argentina went through. After the game, the little man claimed that his first goal had been scored a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the 'Hand Of God'.