DOHA (VG) (Belgium – Canada 1-0) It ended with the favorite winning like a recipe, but it could have ended very differently. In the middle ends a judge who starts the year with unwanted attention.
Referee Janny Sikazwe became an internet phenomenon after she saved an Africa Cup of Nations match after just 85 minutes in January – and again after 89 minutes. Afterwards, he claimed that heat stroke had caused him to hallucinate in the match between Tunisia and Mali – and thought he could die.
– I think God asked me to stop the fight. “He saved me,” said Sikazwe after the match, according to Kenya Mozart’s sport.
The referee was also in focus when the Belgian World Cup outsider met the energetic and well-played Canada, who surprised by taking the initiative and controlling the match at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium – right next to the posh, flashy and new Mall of. Qatar, which is dominated by luxury brands in a city known for its huge social divide.
It started with Canadian Tajon Buchanan’s shot hitting Yannick Carrasco in the arm. The game continued, but in the ensuing stoppage of play, Sikazwe was asked to look at the VAR screen.
It ended in a spot-kick, but Bayern star Alphonso Davies fired in an overly loose and badly-placed spot-kick that was easily saved by Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois.
But Canada asked for another penalty. Davies’ shot was blocked and after that Buchanan picked up the ball and fell to the ground after being stepped on by Jan Vertonghen.
Instead of a penalty kick it was ruled offside, there was only one problem: the pass came from a Belgian player, and thus the game should not have been called off – and was instead checked by VAR.
– It was a wrong decision by the referee and VAR. Canada should have another penalty kick, says football analyst Stu Holden in Change.
And about seven minutes before halftime, Canada asked for another penalty. This time, there was a semi-long break after Richie Laryea admitted that he was cut down by Axel Witsel.
The outnumbered Canadian crowd discreetly chanted “WAR, VAR, VAR”, in typical North American fashion, followed by “PE-NAL-TY, PE-NAL-TY, PE-NAL-TY”, but the conclusion was no penalty.
– That there will be no penalty, despite our assistance with video images. I had great difficulty understanding it. For me it is a breakdown of FIFA and the VAR protocol. For me as a judge, this is crystal clear, said former top judge Jonas Eriksson SVT.
– Hopefully this is his last game in the World Cup, he continued.
As such, it might turn sour when Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi bursts in and makes it 1-0 in Romelu Lukaku’s absence through injury.
The organizers did their part to entertain the audience by running a halftime show with a deep track studio and a light show from supporting mobiles – to the sound of Canada’s The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” of course.
The Canadians tried to equalize, mostly by shouting “oh ah, Canada” or “let’s go, Canada” for most of the match, but were unsuccessful.
After the loss, the Canadian coach gathered the team in a circle on the court.
– I tell them they deserve to be here and we’ll go and “f” Croatia, it’s that simple, Herdman said according to Athletics.
Canada is participating in their second World Cup (first was in 1986), they have yet to score a goal in the tournament.
– I’m proud of his appearance. These lads showed they can handle this stage and I think they did the fans proud.”
During the match, Belgian foreign minister Hadja Lahbib was also seen wearing the rainbow-coloured captain’s armband, as he stood and spoke to FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Belgium, denied by FIFA to play in the rainbow colours, topped the group after Morocco and Croatia drew 0-0 earlier in the day.
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