Referee questions why VAR wasn't used for Argentina penalty appeals vs Brazil

Brazil v Argentina: Semi Final - Copa America Brazil 2019

The fallout from Argentina's Copa America semi-final exit has been huge. 

Lionel Messi could be hit with a two-year ban from international football, as per Spanish source AS, after accusing CONMEBOL of corruption. 

The Albiceleste's talisman was furious after being sent off in the third-place play-off against Chile, but much of his ire had already been unleashed following defeat to Brazil in the last four. 

Goals from Premier League duo Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino ensured it was Tite's men who made the final and ultimately went on to lift the trophy. 

The scoreline might have been different, however, had VAR been used to full effect. 

First, Sergio Aguero was tripped in the box - no penalty - and later, Arthur blocked Nicolas Otamendi from approaching the goal with a shoulder-barge with no eye on the ball at all. 

According to Italian journalist Tancredi Palmieri, Argentina put in an official request after the game to obtain audio files from the VAR room to explain why the technology wasn't used for those potentially game-defining moments. 

Yet it's Messi's reaction which has gained the most attention. 


"They [the officials] had called a lot of bulls**t, but they didn't even check the VAR, that's unbelievable," he said.

"That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil's] favour and this kind of bulls**t distracted us from the game.

“Throughout the tournament they called bulls**t handballs, bulls**t penalties, and bulls**t fouls. But somehow today, they refused to use VAR.

"There is no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyse it and let's hope CONMEBOL does something about it - but surely not, because Brazil commands too much power in the organisation."

The significance of those allegations from Messi can't really be understated. It's a monumental claim. 

Referee speaks out 

The referee himself has now come out to address the questions surrounding VAR, and even he admits he was unclear why his decisions weren't being checked. 

"Otamendi also went in to challenge, it's not an elbow [from Arthur]," Roddy Zambrano told Ecuadorian radio show Super K-800, via Marca.


"VAR looked at it and determined that it was 50/50, they didn't tell me to look at it, they didn't consider to be a clear penalty.

"In Monday's report, I say that they should've called me [to have a look at it on the pitchside screens]."

Bizarrely, that doesn't quite match up with what the VAR referee has said. He claims he did tell Zambrano to take a second look at the Arthur challenge on Otamendi. 

This isn't going to appease an irate Messi one bit. 

What do you make of Messi's reaction to Argentina's exit? Have your say in the comments. 

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