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A terrible VAR decision eliminated Scotland from the Women’s World Cup

For The Win logo For The Win 6/19/2019 Andrew Joseph

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The idea of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is great. When it comes to the most competitive and high-stakes moments in soccer, FIFA should use the available technology to correct missed calls.

As simple as that sounds, FIFA has found a way to monumentally screw that up. And because of that, Scotland's run at the Women's World Cup is done in the group stages.

During Wednesday's Group D match against Argentina, Scotland went up by three goals before Argentina came storming back within a goal. Argentina had a chance to tie the match with a penalty in stoppage time, but a clutch save from Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander appeared to put an end to that scare.

Then, VAR stepped in and ruined it all.

After a VAR review, it was determined that Alexander came off her line early by maybe six inches. She was given a yellow card, and Argentina's Florencia Bonsegundo had another shot at the penalty.

This time, she converted to draw level at 3-3.

That score would hold, which put Scotland from a potential advancing third-place position to last place in the group (and eliminated).

This particular application of VAR has been THE controversy of the Women's World Cup. The rule was applied with little notice, giving goalkeepers who have trained a certain way their entire lives no time to adjust. It takes thousands of reps for muscle memory to take effect under pressure, so it was unfair of FIFA to expect an adjustment to happen for this World Cup.

France beat Nigeria this week by the same dumb ruling.

Plus, it goes against the very spirit of VAR. The system should be used to fix obvious, game-changing errors. If you have to slow down a replay and zoom in to see that a goalkeeper left her line by a few inches, that's using technology to hurt the game - not help it.

Baseball deals with the same issue when it comes to players leaving the bag while tagged for a millisecond. Is it a correct call by the rule? I guess, technically. Is it dumb and the wrong use of replay? YES.

Stop this, FIFA. You're messing up everything.

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