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25th Jun 2018

WATCH: Alan Shearer says what everyone’s thinking about controversial VAR call in Iran vs Portugal

'Farcical... Shambolic'

Simon Lloyd

Admit it

There you were, naively thinking you might actually be warming to VAR. And then Portugal versus Iran happens.

In the end, the game finished 1-1 and Portugal progressed to the last 16 stage with Spain. It could, however, have been so very different after an eventful last couple of minutes.

Iran’s goal came from a stoppage-time penalty, awarded after a VAR review from the referee. After a check, he saw fit to award the spot-kick for handball against Portugal’s Cedric Soares. “A farce,” said Mark Lawrenson. He was right.

It could, however, have been much worse for the European champions. Much, much worse.

Seconds after drawing level, the ball fell to Mehdi Taremi inside the Portuguese area. With only the goalkeeper to beat, he could only find the side-netting, agonisingly close to sending Cristiano Ronaldo and co. on a flight back to Lisbon.

Alan Shearer, on punditry duty for the BBC, didn’t hold back in his assessment of the situation.

“Farcical… shambolic.” he said. “The referee is a very lucky guy. If Iran score at the end it would have been absolute chaos.

“How on earth can he think that is a penalty? If he thinks it is deliberate handball, he’s crazy.

“There is no way on earth that is deliberate handball. It turns the game into an absolute farce.”

Along with Pablo Zabaleta, Shearer also highlighted how the introduction of VAR seemed to have increased playacting in the game, instead of having the adverse effect.