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2019 Women's World Cup

VAR’s rocky rollout might have knocked Nigeria out of the World Cup

RENNES, France — “They didn’t show us what happened.”

That statement from Nigerian keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie in the wake of her team’s 1-0 loss to France tonight neatly sums up the feeling around the game—as well as the widespread feeling around the implementation of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) at the 2019 World Cup. VAR, which is intended to ensure the accuracy of on-field decisions, seems ironically to only be creating more uncertainty at this tournament.

To recap: In the 75th minute Monday night, defender Ngozi Ebere took Viviane Asseyi down from behind in the box, a clear penalty offense that was initially missed, but caught upon video review. So far, so good for VAR. But when Wendie Renard hit the post on her penalty attempt, a second video review revealed that Nnadozie had been just slightly off her goal line as Renard took the kick, which, according to the letter of the law, meant a yellow card for her and a do-over for Renard.

France didn’t play well in this game. With several key offensive players starting on the bench, they found themselves unable to break down a well-executed bunker by Nigeria.

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