It was a dramatic end to the final games of Group B, and as Nordin Amrabat put it ‘VAR is BS’. I certainly won’t go ahead to discredit VAR but it certainly depends on how it is being used by the referee. Portugal were held by an impressive Iran to a 1-1 result, while Spain left it late with the help of VAR to rescue a 2-2 draw – with both games being played simultaneously.
Ricardo Quaresma opened the scoring in the 45th minute with an outside foot stunner from outside the box to contend for goal of the tournament and give Portugal the lead at the break. Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance to seal the victory in the 53rd minute with a correct penalty decision through VAR, but failed to convert (some disagree if it was a penalty at all).
Iran steered closer to qualification when Iran also had their own VAR awarded penalty after Cedric Soares was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box (I disagree with that decision personally). However Karim Ansarifard slotted it home with class to cause real drama in the last six minutes of added time. Mehdi Taremi had a wonderful chance to score and eliminate Portugal but he sliced it wide and crushed Iranian hearts.
Spain rescued a 2-2 draw to top the group on goals scored after coming back from behind twice. Morocco took the lead through Khalid Boutaib in the 14th minute but Isco replied for Spain in the 19th minute. Morocco had a chance to have a memorable win after Youssef En-Nesyri scored a stunning header in the 81st minute, but a dramatic equaliser from Iago Aspas saved their blushes with a 90th minute equaliser.
Therefore, Spain will face hosts Russia, while Uruguay will face Portugal in the round of 16 and VAR is only as good as the referee using it