The FIFA World Cup has historically had controversies in every edition of its 92-year-old history - be it Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ or England’s goal disallowed in 2010, in South Africa.
The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup has also not been free of controversies over 62 matches played so far in the tournament, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both involved in them.
Here are five controversies from the 2022 World Cup:
In or out? Japan’s Ao Tanaka scores the winner against Spain
Japan’s Ao Tanaka scored in the 51st minute against Spain to give the lead to the Blue Samurais in the Group E game.
The goal underwent a lengthy VAR check but stood as the referees found the ball to not have crossed the touchline.
The ball was delivered from the right side of the field and Kaoru Mitoma got behind it. The ball, however, seemed to have crossed the touchline, and gone out of play, before the Japan player stopped it.
A VAR check which followed ruled that the ball had been stopped before it entirely crossed the line.
The decision put the Asian team in the lead and finally led to it beating the 2010 World Champion 2-1.
“I have seen a photo that must have been tampered with. It cannot be that this photo is real. It has to be manipulated,” Spain manager Luis Enrique later said.
“I felt that something fishy was going on when the VAR took as much time as it did to decide… I have nothing to say.”
After analysis, Sportstar explained that the ball, indeed, had not crossed the line and that the goal was legit.
Messi and Argentina upset over referee Lahoz in ‘Battle of Lahoz’
Argentina captain Lionel Messi was involved in one of the most high-profile controversies of the tournament, where he remonstrated against the referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
“I don’t want to talk about referees because then they will sanction you,” Messi said during the post-match interview with the organiser, “But we were scared before the game because we knew what was coming [with Mateu Lahoz]. They cannot put a referee like that on this game when he is not up to the level,” he added.
The quarterfinal clash, which Lahoz officiated at the Lusail Stadium, saw a total of 19 bookings, breaking the record of the Portugal vs Netherlands round of 16 match in the 2006 World Cup, popularly known as the ‘Battle of Nuremberg.’
FIFA started disciplinary proceedings against the Argentina Football Federation after Messi’s remarks.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Argentinian Football Association due to potential breaches of articles 12 (Misconduct of players and officials) and 16 (Order and security at matches) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the Netherlands vs Argentina FIFA World Cup match,” it said in a statement.
The referee, Lahoz, however, was reportedly sent home after the incident.
No goal for Ronaldo?
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo claimed a goal in the 54th minute against Uruguay in the group-stage match, but the goal was subsequently credited to teammate Bruno Fernandes.
Bruno crossed the ball from the left side of the pitch and Ronaldo jumped the highest as the ball went into the goal. Replays later showed that Ronaldo had just missed connecting with the ball.
The goal would have levelled the former Real Madrid with Eusebio as Portugal’s highest goal-scorer at World Cups and surpassed Messi in the race to more World Cup goals.
While the 37-year celebrated, thinking the ball had brushed his hair to enter the net, the goal, later confirmed by football manufacturer Adidas, saw Bruno’s hit finding the net and giving Ronaldo’s claim an infamous phrase ‘the hair of god’.
One more chance please! South Korea denied final corner kick against Ghana
The final round of Group H matches saw Ghana and South Korea play an extremely tight match, at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.
While the Black Stars, following goals from Mohammed Salisu and Mohammed Kudus, went into half-time with a comfortable 2-0 lead, it was Cho Gue-Sung’s brace that made it all square just over the hour-mark.
Ghana, however, found another goal from Kudus, who steered the ball into the net from a pass by Inaki Wiliams.
South Korea, looking for an equaliser, kept throwing bodies into the final third, with captain Son Hueng-Min putting in a couple of good long balls.
In the last minute of added time on top of second-half injury time, Korea got a corner kick after its long ranger was deflected out of play by Ghana. But the referee, Anthony Taylor, blew the full-time whistle.
It was then that the Korean coach Paulo Bento lost his cool, and protested vehemently in front of Taylor for denying one last chance to his team – one that saw Bento being sent off.
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Griezmann’s goal disallowed vs Tunisia
Antoine Griezmann scored in the eighth minute of second half stoppage time in France’s game against Tunisia on Wednesday but the goal was ruled offside.
Griezmann’s goal was ruled out as the French forward was standing in an offside position before the free kick was delivered into the Tunisia penalty area.
His presence was deemed to have interfered with the Tunisia defender’s action. The defender was interpreted to have tracked back to cover Griezmann, which ultimately helped the Atletico Madrid player convert the chance.
While the referee gave the goal, he was asked to double-check the action on the VAR screen. After a review, the referee, Matthew Conger, overturned his decision to disallow France’s equaliser.
Les Blues filed the complaint against the decision, only to see FIFA reject their appeal.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has dismissed the protest submitted by the French Football Association in relation to the Tunisia v. France FIFA World Cup match played on 30 November,” FIFA said in a statement.