A 4K image released would appear to prove that Japan’s controversial winning goal against Spain was right to stand.
Alvaro Morata put Spain 1-0 up in the 11th minute but then Ritsu Doan levelled matters just after half-time. Minutes later and Japan, who had just 17 per cent possession, were in dreamland when Ao Tanaka completed the turnaround.
However, a lengthy VAR check resulted in referee Victor Gomes awarding the goal. It meant four-time winners Germany, despite their 4-2 win over Costa Rica, were eliminated at the group stages for the second consecutive tournament.
The initial images shown by broadcasters made it seem as though the ball was over the byline.
However, angles can deceptive and a 4K picture posted showed that it was in fact in by the slightest of margins.
As stated by Dale Johnson for ESPN, The law is that the the ball is in play “if the curvature of the ball is over the line”, irrespective of how small a part of it is.
Instead, it was the goal-line camera which provided the evidence required for the reversal of the decision.
The ball does appear to be overhanging the line – something we often see when players take corner kicks and it looking like it isn’t in the quadrant.
That was the grounds for the goal being given and seeing Japan progress to the round of 16 as group winners on six points.
Explaining the call on ITV, former Premier League referee Peter Walton said: “There’s a misconception in law that just because the part of the ball that is on the floor is over the line is out – well it clearly isn’t because it’s the curve of the ball. We see it often with corner kicks where it’s over the line but not quite over the line.
“In this instance, what the VAR is looking for is the evidence to suggest to the referee that the ball has clearly left the field of play and on the evidence that we’re seeing, he doesn’t have that in front of him.”
Germany were dumped out, with Spain finishing second thanks to a superior goal difference achieved in that 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica.
Japan will take on Croatia on Monday, with Spain playing Group F winners Morocco in the knockouts a day later.