We know this is extremely busy of us.
But it’s been bugging us all tournament.
How are goalkeepers getting away with blatant cheating at the World Cup?
VAR has meant an increase in the number of penalties awarded.
And the knockout stages have already produced two dramatic shootouts, meaning we’ve witnessed plenty of spot-kicks already this tournament.
Time and time again, keepers have ventured off their line to gain an unfair advantage.
And the officials have been letting them get away with it.
Keepers are allowed to dive forward at the moment the ball is kicked, no issue there.
But replays have shown that many are advancing towards the penalty-taker during the final stage of the run-up.
The benefits are obvious.
The closer you get to the ball the more of the goal you can close off — it’s simple geometry.
However, the rules of the game state that a keeper must remain on or behind the goal line up until the kick is taken.
We’ve seen referees gesturing to the line and seemingly reminding players of this, but we are yet to see action taken when a keeper deliberately breaks this rule.
At the risk of sounding like boring w**kers — rules are rules.
Kasper Schmeichel and Danijel Subasic really pushed the boundaries in Denmark and Croatia’s round of 16 shootout.
Both keepers made excellent saves but they ended up halfway to the penalty spot nearly every time.
Iran’s Ali Beiranvand denied Cristiano Ronaldo in the group stages by virtue of a considerable head start.
Igor Akinfeev helped Russia eliminate Spain with a brace of saves after creeping off his line.
Great drama, but strictly speaking, the penalties should have been retaken.
You can’t blame the keepers.
If you can get away with it then why not take the advantage?
However, the World Cup is serious business.
Legacies are cemented and tarnished in penalty shootouts.
Think of Roberto Baggio, Chris Waddle, David Trezeguet…
Penalties are stressful enough as they are, let alone with the whole world watching and the weight of a nation on your shoulders.
There are enough factors working against the takers already.
Surely the least they can ask is for the officials to enforce the rules?