BBC commentator Jermaine Jenas was perplexed after Croatia were denied a penalty in their World Cup clash with Belgium following a lengthy and contentious VAR check. Referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty in the first half when Andrej Kramaric was brought down in the area, but as Luka Modric awaited to take the spot kick the decision was overruled.
There was adjudged to have been an offside as the free-kick was swung into the box before a couple of headers saw the ball fall to the striker. Taylor was called to the sideline to look at the decision, which surprised Jenas as tournament officials are usually told in their earpiece whether there is an offside or not due to the semi-automated offside technology in use at the World Cup.
“I don’t get this process, I thought it was all done by technology, the offsides,” Jenas said on commentary. “So it’s offside or it’s not, what we asking Anthony Taylor to go look at the monitor for? To just give his opinion on it? So confusing.
“I’d love to know, some explanation from them as to why he’s gone over. Is it for a foul? For offside? Because at the moment, all we’re seeing is they’re checking offside. So why aren’t they just telling him in his ear he’s offside it’s not a penalty. Did they not know that two minutes ago?
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Modric had the ball on the spot and was preparing to face his club team-mate, Thibaut Courtois, from 12 yards before the decision was reversed and the Croatian team surrounded Taylor in fury.
The call was a big let-off for Belgium, who could face elimination from the World Cup should they fail to defeat Modric and co.
In Group F’s other game, Morocco stormed into a first-half lead against Canada, putting more pressure on Belgium who would need all three points vs Croatia should the African side win.