We analyze every VAR decision made in all 64 World Cup 2022 games.
After each game, we review the main incidents in order to study and explain the process both in terms of the VAR protocol and in terms of the rules of the game.
Qatar vs Ecuador
Cancellation of VAR: Valencia goal ruled out for offside
What happened: In the third minute, Ecuador thought they had an advantage against Qatar hosts thanks to Valencia’s Enner, but there was a lengthy offside review.
VAR solution: Goal not counted.
VAR overview: It was the right decision, although it was completely incomprehensible to the fans, and it took quite a long time for the offside visualization to be shown.
As the free kick was played, Ecuadorian defender Felix Torres challenged Qatari goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb. The ball fell on Michael Estrada, who sent it back to Torres to set up a goal for Valencia.
However, when Torres touched the ball (whether forward or backward, it doesn’t matter), Estrada was one foot ahead of the penultimate defender, who was Abdelkarim Hassan.
The check took longer than a regular offside because the VAR Tomasz Listkiewicz had to make sure the ball actually came off Torres. Without that touch, Estrada would not have been offside. Any subsequent Al-Sheba touch will not be considered “intentional play” to reset the offside phase.
Under offside law, it doesn’t matter if the attacking player intends to play the ball, the touch automatically sets the phase for any other player to be offside.
Additional confusion arises from the fact that the penultimate defender is covered by the goalkeeper, while the other defender is further forward. Fans are naturally looking for the last defender, which can be confusing when the goalkeeper is in front. At the same time, Al-Shib in this case was not even the penultimate defender, but Hassan.
So it was the right decision, but for too long it was not clear. Even with FIFA’s semi-automated offside technology, the VAR system had to be the key determinant that Torres was playing the ball.