VAR's a shambles! Messi scores penalty after spot-kick given to Argentina for pulling a day after Maguire madness

Lionel Messi Harry Maguire VAR
VAR was the centre of attention again as Argentina took the lead in their opening game against Saudi Arabia through a Lionel Messi penalty.
  • Messi opens World Cup account via penalty
  • VAR gives spot-kick for incident similar to Maguire's
  • Inconsistency in decisions evident

WHAT HAPPENED? Messi opened his account for the World Cup with a spot-kick, but only after the intervention of pitchside technology. Leandro Paredes was brought down in the box following a corner, and the referee consulted VAR before giving the penalty. It was reminiscent of the incident involving Harry Maguire in England's game on Monday, where the defender was bundled over but denied a penalty. The challenge on Paredes was fairly called as a foul, but the pull on Maguire was even worse in the Three Lions' 6-2 win against Iran, with inconsistency from VAR reigning in the early stages of the tournament.

WHY WAS IT GIVEN? There's not much doubt it was a penalty. The Saudi Arabian defender didn't have any eyes on the incoming corner, instead focusing on his man, and he essentially rugby-tackled him to the floor. It was almost identical to the challenge on Maguire, but with a completely different outcome, and many are scratching their heads as to why. Manchester United legend and former Republic of Ireland international Roy Keane gave his verdict in the ITV Sport studio: "We're going to see a record number of penalties at this World Cup.''


VAR Argentina

THE REACTION: VAR is never far away from the spotlight and it has certainly had its fair share of moments already this tournament. The decision to not award the penalty for England was questioned at the time, and an equally confusing decision was made late in the Three Lions' game on Monday. The penalty in the Argentina game only adds to the questions being asked of the technology and they are sure to stick around a little while longer.

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