The Confederations Cup has been filled with plenty of controversy so far, and we still have another semi-final to decide who will meet Chile on Sunday.
It’s not the most glamorous international tournament. In fact, it’s more of a dress rehearsal for the following years World Cup.
The hosts, in this case, Russia, can smooth out any bumps in logistics, stadiums and travel before all eyes turn to them in 2018.
The competing teams can use it as an opportunity to test new tactics and personnel against each other, but once it’s all over, the tournament is forgotten pretty quickly.
This year though, there’s an added level of testing, but it’s not by the teams or the hosts. It’s by FIFA.
Football’s governing body is trialling Video Assistant Referees (VAR), in an attempt to bring the game into the 21st century.
For years, many footballers, managers, fans and pundits have been calling for the use of technology.
Other sports including rugby, tennis and cricket already have similar technology and those are all far fairer than football currently is.
So the fact that VAR is being tested at a major tournament is definitely a step in the right direction. Of course, there have been problems with the technology throughout the tournament so far.
Although teams on the end of a wrong decision will be annoyed, it’s better to face these problems now than in a years time.
During Wednesday’s semi-final between Portugal and Chile, VAR was in the spotlight again. La Roja substitute Francisco Silva was clearly fouled by Jose Fonte in the Portugal box, but only a goal kick was given.
Replays clearly showed that the West Ham defender had stepped on the Chilean’s foot, causing him to fall rather than take a clear shot on goal.
However, technology was not even used to clarify the decision.
Video assistant referees are able to notify the actual referee if a blatant error has occurred.
It appeared that not giving the penalty was one of these errors, but play continued anyway.
A video of the incident can be found below.
In the end, it made little difference as Chile beat Portugal on penalties. It was a deserved victory as the South American team had the better of the chances over 120 minutes.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved all three of Portugal’s penalties, while his teammates scored all of theirs.
Chile will face either Mexico or Germany in the final on Sunday.