Penalties, Once The Most Widely Understood Part Of Soccer, Now Make No Sense

By holding World Cup host France to a draw today, Nigeria could’ve secured passage to the Round of 16 for the first time since 1999. For close to 80 minutes, that looked like the Super Falcons destiny. 

Step forward the VAR.

First, the referee looked at the monitor to review a collision in Nigeria’s box between Ngozi Ebere and Viviane Asseyi. The ref decided it was a penalty and sent Ebere off for her second bookable offense. 

Up stepped Wendie Renard for the spot kick. Her initial attempt clipped the outside of the post and went directly behind for a goal kick. 

Step forward the VAR Part II. 

Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie fractionally, oh so fractionally, had both her left foot and right foot off the line (the left foot a matter of millimeters), and Renard was allowed a redo. She buried the second attempt.  

VAR controversy

She's obviously cheating? I don't know, I guess.

As is always the case with VAR, it’s TECHNICALLY the right call. And for those with minds like a steel trap, you’ll remember that a similar call was made earlier in the tournament against Jamaican goalkeeper Sydney Schneider (whose offense was a bit more blatant).  

So we can have no complaints!

But what about the encroachment from field players that occurs on every penalty? Shhh. We don’t talk about that shit. 

And although encroachment from both teams like on the first pen results in a redo, look at Amandine Henry on the second penalty — she still doesn't give a rat's ass about what's transpired in front of her very eyes only seconds ago. 

VAR controversy


“If I gave you honest opinions, they would probably send me home,” said Nigeria manager Thomas Dennerby after the match. “My players are heroes.” 

Let’s go to the social media reaction, featuring the now-always-shouty Taylor Twellman.   

At least the ‘99ers secured the bag before this whole VAR thing kicked off. But also, shhh. We don't talk about this shit. We won.  

Nigeria still has a very decent shot at making the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams, but it’s going to be a very nervy few days watching Argentina, Scotland, Cameroon, New Zealand and Chile all battle for their World Cup lifes. 

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