We’re all just a little bit relieved today, aren’t we?
England were moments away from a fairly dismal 1-1 in their World Cup opener against Tunisia last night, before Harry Kane headed home Harry Maguire’s flick to give the Three Lions a deserved three points.
But after the game, plenty of us were still a little bit peeved with Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan and some of his poor decision-making in the game.
We’re not being salty, honest.
It all started when Roldan awarded Tunisia a penalty for Kyle Walker’s elbow on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef close to the end of the first-half.
The decision was perhaps a little soft – but ultimately correct – although it was quite concerning how quickly the ref pointed to the spot without first consulting VAR.
VAR has been used pretty effectively during the World Cup so far, with penalty decisions awarded to Denmark and Sweden following correct VAR decisions.
But for whatever reason, Roldan opted not to use the new technology.
And it cost England dearly, as moments after Tunisia converted their penalty, Harry Kane was rugby-tackled to the ground in the Tunisia box when tussling for a corner.
He was then brought down a second time after the break – in an almost identical situation – yet Roldan once again decided against consulting with the VAR.
Worryingly, Roldan’s been involved in dodgy VAR-related decisions in high-profile games before.
In the Confederations Cup last year, he sent off the wrong player in a game between Cameroon and Germany.
Midway through Germany’s 3-1 win, Roldan asked the VAR to review a high challenge on Emre Can by Ernest Mabouka, but somehow sent off Cameroon captain Sebastien Siani instead.
It was only after his teammates insisted on him reviewing the incident again that he realised his mistake and rescinded Siani’s red card, before sending off the correct culprit Mabouka.
After the game, Cameroon coach Hugo Broos flatly: “I didn’t understand it and I still don’t understand it now.
“I think this is something for the referee. He and he alone can explain what happened in that incident.”
And there’s more.
At the World Cup in Brazil four years ago, Roldan was the guy who failed to award Mexico those two first-half goals against Cameroon in their group clash, claiming they were offside when they really should have stood.
Luckily, it didn’t harm the result too much, with Mexico still going onto win 1-0.
Let’s hope we get someone with a slightly less colourful past next time, eh?
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