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Why VAR disallowed Griezmann’s goal for France for offside

We’re analysing every VAR decision made throughout all 64 games at the 2022 World Cup. Antoine Griezmann controversially had a goal disallowed in France vs. Tunisia, and this is why.

After each game, we take a look at the major incidents to examine and explain the process both in terms of VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.

– World Cup VAR review in full: Every decision analysed

VAR overturn: Griezmann goal disallowed for offside

What happened: Antoine Griezmann thought he had scored a dramatic equaliser for France in the 98th minute, but there was a VAR review for offside.

VAR decision: Goal disallowed.

VAR review: This drills right to the very heart of the offside law, and the definition of a “deliberate play” to reset a phase.

When Aurelien Tchouameni played the ball into the area, Griezmann was stood yards offside. However, the France striker made no attempt to play the ball or challenge an opponent.

Defender Montassar Talbi tried to head the ball, but he didn’t get much on the clearance and it dropped to Griezmann, who scored.

– Why VAR gave Lionel Messi a penalty

If the officials believed Talbi had made a “deliberate play,” the phase is reset, Griezmann is onside and the goal counts.

If the officials believed Talbi hasn’t made a “deliberate play,” the phase isn’t reset, Griezmann remains offside from Tchouameni’s pass, and the goal is disallowed.

Essentially, a “deliberate play” is about the defender being in control of his actions. It’s not purely about a player trying to kick or head a ball. If the defender has to stretch to play the ball, and can’t have true influence about where it goes, that’s not considered a “deliberate play.”

This is a hugely subjective area of the offside law, which is why referee Matthew Conger of New Zealand had to go to the pitchside monitor to make the decision.

The VAR, Abdullah al-Marri — who was also on duty for the controversial handball penalty given to Portugal against Uruguay on Monday — and his Qatari colleague acting as the offside VAR, Taleb al-Marri, will have advised that Talbi wasn’t in control of the header and was stretching, therefore this cannot be a “deliberate play.”

This decision will be equally as controversial, because the intricacies of the “deliberate play” aren’t widely known or understood.

Whether you feel this is a correct decision will ultimately rest upon what you feel should constitute a “deliberate play.” But it’s fair to say most people will feel this is an exceptionally harsh VAR decision.