This Euro was everything. Outstanding goals (which is only worth hitting Patrick Schick from the center of the field). Incredible stories and cool comebacks (yes, we will not forget Monday, June 28, and the matches Spain – Croatia and France – Switzerland). Crazy quality football (semi-finals Italy – Spain – in the collection for ages). Superstar records and dramas. A real parade of own goals, sometimes completely ridiculous (hello, Unai Simon). There was only a judicial scandal. Not some local history, but something powerful, resonant that would have thundered all over the world. Now he is there.
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And in its center is not even the Dutch referee Danny McKeley, who worked as the main one in the England – Denmark semifinals and appointed an absolutely left penalty kick to the Scandinavians in extra time. Yes, he was wrong – but this is a normal story. Happens to everyone, in dynamics it really looked like a foul on the part of Joachim Mehle.
The main questions are for video assistant Paul van Buckel, who, in theory, watched replays from different angles and nevertheless did not begin to correct McKeley’s actions. That is, speaking in judicial-clerical-bureaucratic language, I did not see an obvious error in the judge’s decision.
At the same time, I personally have no questions at all to Rahim Sterling, who fell in the penalty area of the Danes. Anyone who follows English and European football even a little, knows perfectly well that the Englishman is also a “diver” and a simulator who regularly begs for a penalty. I am sure that all the judges in England and Europe are aware of this as well. True, this knowledge often does not help. For example, the episode with Sterling’s fall in Shakhtar’s penalty area in one of the Champions League matches a few years ago has long been a meme.
Once again, the main complaints should be addressed to Mr. van Buckel, who was sitting in the booth, watched replays and did not see anything (well, or did not want to see – I am sure that now a powerful surge in conspiracy theory and other entertaining conspiracy theories will begin, maybe even BLM will drag some sideways).
Globally, the question is different – why do we need a VAR in its current form, if such situations happen? I remember that a few years ago, ardent supporters of video replays called all doubters the enemies of progress and called them Luddites. It was pretty funny to read the opinions that represented the VAR as a kind of Skynet – an omnipotent artificial intelligence that will resolve all controversial issues.
It quickly became clear that this was not the case. The video assistant – the very same VAR – is not Skynet, but a living person with his thoughts, fears and doubts, who, moreover, are sometimes shown repetitions of dubious quality. Didn’t see the conditional van Buckel anything criminal, didn’t signal the judge about an obvious mistake – we play further. That is, just as before, there is room for mistakes, manipulation and abuse.