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30th Jun 2018

How the World Cup’s last-16 would look *without* the use of VAR


Simon Lloyd

VAR, you might have heard, has been used at this summer’s World Cup

Although its inclusion has inevitably caused the odd bit of controversy here and there, there’s no denying that, on the whole, it’s been a success, with several incorrect decisions being overturned.

Speaking on Friday, Pierluigi Collina, head of Fifa’s refereeing comittee, claimed that 99.3% of the incidents reviewed by VAR during the World Cup have resulted in the correct decision. Impressive stuff.

Another measure of how much of an impact it’s had on the tournament comes from a report by Marca, which looks at how the last-16 of the tournament would shape up had VAR not been used in Russia.

Without the use of VAR, the same 16 teams would have advanced from the group stages. However, the key decisions altered by it would have changed some of the games in the first knockout round.

Sweden would have faced Brazil were it not for VAR

Spain, for example, topped Group B and will now face hosts Russia in the next round. Had there not been VAR-influenced decisions in the closing stages of games between them and Morocco and Portugal and Iran, their Iberian neighbours would have won the group instead, leaving La Roja on the opposite side of the draw and facing a sterner task against Uruguay in the last-16.

France and Denmark would also have swapped positions in Group C, with the use of VAR contributing to Didier Deschamps’ side gaining two points and the Danes losing two points in their matches. Had this not been the case, Denmark would have faced Argentina and France would have met Croatia in the knockout stages; not the other way round.

Finally, similar would have occurred in Group F, where Sweden progressed as group winners ahead of Mexico. The Scandinavians won their opener against South Korea thanks to a penalty awarded after a VAR review. Without this and the extra two points gained as a result, Mexico would’ve topped the group and would be facing Switzerland in the next round. Instead, they will now face Brazil.


VAR,World Cup