Dramatic decisions have, among other things, eliminated pre-tournament favorites USA from this summer's Women's World Cup.
There's no doubt that the modern technology, which has been implemented in top football in recent years, has sparked debates. Now that the teething problems are gradually being sorted out in the VAR room, it cannot be argued that VAR has made football a fairer game. Discussion can always persist about where the line should be drawn, and hopefully, it will find a more just equilibrium as things progress.
During this year's World Cup, several VAR situations have been match-deciding. Here, we turn our focus to goal-line technology.
Indeed, the round of sixteen was determined precisely by this technology. The USA and Sweden clashed at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in one of the most dramatic matches of the tournament so far, ending 5-4 in favor of the blue and yellow Swedes after a 0-0 draw in both regular and extra time.
Before the decisive moment, spectators in Australia and around the world witnessed one of the greatest female players of all time, Megan Rapinoe, miss a penalty kick. Additionally, the vital goal-line technology came into play. Never before has the USA been knocked out so early in a World Cup tournament. In fact, they've even secured medals in every World Cup held since the inaugural event in China back in 1991.
The game's referee, Stéphanie Frappart, allowed the VAR room to have its say in her earpiece before making the crucial call whether the ball crossed the line or not in the American goal. The USA's goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, had managed to save the Swedish penalty attempt from Lina Hurtig, but despite this, the ball's trajectory took it just over the goal line by a whisker. The judgment was swiftly confirmed by FIFA's goal-line technology, thus making FIFA's goal-line technology a match-deciding factor.
The technology operates fundamentally through sensors and chips embedded in the match balls. Learn more about the official Adidas World Cup ball, as we previously described earlier this year in an article, here: https://footballogy.net/en/2023/08/12/focus-goal-line-technology-crucial-during-womens-world-cup/
While perhaps only a minority of the population recalls the men's World Cup final in 1966, where England and West Germany faced off in a highly dramatic showdown, most football enthusiasts are familiar with the story.
The match was decided in favor of the English with a 4-2 victory – despite the fact that Germany's Geoff Hurst had a goal wrongly disallowed earlier in extra time. In that attempt, the ball struck the crossbar, bounced down onto the pitch behind the goal line, and then spun out on the other side of the line. A controversial incident in football history, which thanks to modern technology and greater coverage in significant matches, will now be a thing of the past.
The elimination of the defending world champions, the USA, stirred up emotions among American fans. The team has faced criticism both before and during the tournament, ranging from playing style to arrogance while competing in Australia and New Zealand. Nonetheless, the team's 46-year-old head coach, American-Macedonian Vlatko Andonovski, defended his players after the painful defeat to Sweden through the words he shared with ESPN, stating: "I'm aware that we were criticized for our play and for different moments in the group stage. I believe that we stepped onto the field today and showed strength, resilience, and fighting spirit. The courage we displayed demonstrates that we did everything we could to win the match. Unfortunately, football can sometimes be cruel."
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