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Fifa World Cup: Fans recall Lampard's disallowed goal after Japan match winner

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 02/12/2022 Rituraj Borkakoty in Doha
Japan's Kaoru Mitoma in action before Japan's Ao Tanaka scores the controversial goal. –Reuters © Provided by Khaleej Times Japan's Kaoru Mitoma in action before Japan's Ao Tanaka scores the controversial goal. –Reuters

A pall of gloom descended on football-mad Germany following a controversial Japan goal against Spain that knocked the four-time champions out of the World Cup in Qatar.

It’s a goal that has now divided the football world.

Did the ball cross the byline before Kaoru Mitoma sent a cross for Ao Tanaka to score from close range, Japan’s second of the night against Spain that proved fatal for Germany in Group E?

After the assistant referee cancelled the goal, VAR (Video Assistant Referee) stepped in and ruled that parts of the ball remained inside the line before it was cut back by Mitoma for Tanaka’s effort.

The images of that ball going dangerously close to the outside the edge of the line have now gone viral, sparking debates among the pundits and angry reactions from fans.

Some fans are even smelling a conspiracy to kick Germany out of the World Cup in Qatar.

But England fans Ciaran Roberts and George Pierce have no sympathy for the sulking Germans.

“It was revenge for the 2010 World Cup, when they (Germany) knocked us (England) out. We had a goal that was not given,” Roberts told this reporter, referring to a controversial decision in the 2010 World Cup knockout game between Germany and England.

Frank Lampard’s effort in that match hit the crossbar and bounced inside the goalline, but the referee remarkably denied the goal as Germany went on to knock England out of the World Cup with a 4-1 win in the round of 16.

“So I am not going to lie, I have absolutely zero sympathy for the Germans,” Roberts said.

“I think the new (picture) angle clearly shows that the ball was clearly in. So you have to give the attacking team the benefit of the doubt and wave goodbye to the Germans!”

George Pierce, who has travelled with Roberts from Manchester for the Qatar World Cup, agreed.

“If you look at it from different angles, it seemed the whole ball hadn’t gone out of line,” he said.

“Also, if there is any doubt, it’s going to go with the attacking team. I think Japan deserved it at the end of the day, definitely.”

Pierce also feels that technology should not have been brought into the beautiful game for these decisions.

“For me, I would have never started the VAR. But we have gone too far now,” he said.

“It’s so frustrating when you are watching the match live, it takes four or five minutes to get a VAR decision.”

But Francisco, a Portuguese fan who has travelled with his daughter Sofia for the World Cup, said the VAR is good for football.

“Yes, I want it. In Portugal, they have been using it successfully in the Portuguese League,” he said.

“The president of my club, Sporting CP Portugal, was the biggest supporter of technology and he played a big role in bringing VAR to our club football.”

Meanwhile, Lennin, a Brazilian fan, watched the controversial Japan-Spain game from the Fifa Fan Zone in Doha.

“Yes, I saw the match. I think it was the right decision. I have seen some videos just now on YouTube with different angles, it was the right decision because some part of the ball was still behind the line,” he said.

Lennin, a big supporter of Brazilian club Flamengo, said VAR hasn’t seen the same level of success in South American club football as it has seen in Europe.

“People in Brazil think that VAR is a good idea, but in Brazil the VAR works not very well in our league and people have some problem with it,” he said.

“But the idea of VAR is good. People in Brazil think VAR in the Champions League in Europe works better than VAR in South America. It has both sides, but I think generally it’s a good idea.”

But Ivan, a Serbian fan I met on the metro train to the Education City Stadium for the South Korea-Portugal game, gave the most beautiful answer on whether technology is needed in football.

“No, not at all. It’s not a video game. It’s a game played by 22 people. So these things can happen,” Ivan said.

“Football is Maradona’s handball! That’s what makes this game so beautiful.”

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