Should Canada have had three VAR penalties vs. Belgium?

We analyze every decision made by VAR throughout the 64 matches of the 2022 World Cup. Find out why Canada were awarded just one of three possible penalties against Belgium using VAR.

After each game we take a look at the key events to examine and explain the process in terms of the VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.

– Full VAR World Cup Review: Analyze every decision

VAR coup: Penalty kick for a handball by Carrasco

what happened: Tajon Buchanan’s shot was saved by Yannick Carrasco in the eighth minute. The Canadian player immediately challenged a penalty, but the game continued.

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Video Assistant Referee Decision: Missed penalty kick by Alphonso Davies.

VAR review: Simple decision by VAR Juan Soto of Venezuela.

Carrasco’s arm was far from his body and created a barrier in front of the goal, and in the modern game this type of incident is given away as a handball.

The Belgian player is booked, with the offense being an automatic booking.


Possible penalty: Foul by Vertonghen on Buchanan

what happened: In the 13th minute, Buchanan went down inside the area after a challenge from Jan Vertonghen, but the flag went up for offside.

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Video Assistant Referee Decision: No penalty.

VAR review: A strange situation because the assistant completely missed offside. The ball was actually passed towards his own net by Eden Hazard, not by a Canadian player, so there was no potential offside offense. However, Vertonghen’s potential foul occurred before Zambian referee Jani Sikazwe had whistled to stop play, so the VAR could still have been reviewed for a penalty.

Replays showed Vertonghen had the ball before Buchanan caught him, which is absolutely crucial in determining whether the decision goes to VAR review. If not for this touch, the offside would have been ruled out and Canada awarded a penalty.

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Possible penalty kick: Witsel foul on Laryea

what happened: Shortly before half-time, Richie Larrrea burst into the area when he ran alongside Belgian Axel Witsel and fell to claim a penalty.

Video Assistant Referee Decision: No penalty.

VAR review: The kind of decision best left to the referee on the field rather than the VAR.

While there is certainly a connection from Witsel on Laryea, it is not done through defiance. This does not exclude the possibility of a penalty kick, but it will not be seen as a clear and obvious foul by the referee not to award any players alongside each other.

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