VAR abandons Uruguay after late appeal against penalty rejected

Uruguay showed up late to join the party in Qatar and delivered their only notable performance in the final group game.

After the miserable loss to Portugal, Diego Alonso ditched his oversized hipster white sneakers and three-man defense. Instead, he opted for an old-fashioned pair of formal brown leather shoes and a flat 4-4-2.

Quality of midfield

Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde dominated the first half hour in the middle of the park against Ghana. This was Alonso’s first time letting them go as a central midfield pairing in Qatar.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta started from left midfield and came on. Giorgian de Arrascaeta had a fairytale first half, scoring two quick goals (the only goals, by the way, scored by a Uruguay who had no less attacking talent).

Recalling 2010

Luis Suarez was his old self, brilliant and obnoxious in equal measure. Valverde clenched his fists at the referee after Andre Ayew saw his tame penalty saved by Sergio Rochet. Andrew Ayew was there, at the FNB stadium, when Ghana crashed out of the game World Cup 2010 owned (literally) by Uruguay.

The stars aligned. This was Uruguay at its glorious and infamous best.

When Bentancur was forced out with an ankle injury, he was certainly thinking about the last 16 rounds for which his side seemed destined. He was inconsolable.

Uruguay kept tight control for the rest of the match. Darwin Nuñez and Edison Cavani were both denied penalties, despite VAR assessments. That said, CBS Rules Expert Christina Unkel agreed with Qatar officials. She argues that while there is contact, it’s not enough to warrant a violation in this scenario.

Then the unexpected happened.

VAR breaks Uruguayan hearts

South Korea took victory against Portugal in the last moments. This put both Uruguay and South Korea on four points, both with the same goal difference. Uruguay’s offensive woes continued to haunt them as South Korea scored two more goals.

Fine margins.

Another goal for Uruguay or another goal against South Korea was the difference between heartbreak and delirium. However, the VAR and controversial phone calls tell the story of Uruguay’s departure.

Failing to collect the controversial VAR late penalty against Portugal would have been enough for Uruguay to reach the last 16. That, coupled with the lack of a penalty in favor of the South American side against Ghana, was too much for some players.

Edinson Cavani, heavy-handed by one of the calls, said on the VAR screen after the game that he was frustrated.

Frustratingly, all the penalty VAR reviews seem to go against them. Disagreeing with a referee making a decision in real time is one thing, disagreeing with a referee and the support VAR team after they have had ample time to analyze the incidents is another.

Fine, fine margins.


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