Euro 2024 VAR review: Every decision in Germany analysed

Published on: 17 June 2024

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We're analysing every VAR decision made throughout all 51 games at Euro 2024.

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

Total overturns: 7
Rejected overturns: 0

Leading to goals: 2
Leading to disallowed goals: 4
Penalties awarded: 1 (0 missed)
~ for holding: 0
~ for handball: 0
Penalties cancelled: 1
Penalty retakes: 0
Rejected penalties: 0
Goals ruled out for offside: 2
Goals after incorrect offside: 1
Goals ruled out for handball: 1
Goals ruled out for encroachment: 1
Red cards: 1

June 14: Germany 5-1 ScotlandPossible VAR overturn: Penalty for foul by Christie on Musiala

What happened: Referee Clément Turpin gave the hosts a penalty in the 25th minute for a foul by Ryan Christie on Jamal Musiala on the edge of the box. The VAR, Jérôme Brisard, came into action to check the decision.

VAR decision: Penalty cancelled.

Referee Clément Turpin visits the VAR screen in the opening match. Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

VAR review: It's the point of contact of the foul that determines where the offence has taken place, so an attacker can have part of their body inside the area and not win a penalty.

While there was also contact by Kieran Tierney on Musiala's left foot, which was inside the area, the referee had awarded it for Christie's challenge on the Germany forward's right foot, which was outside the box.

It was quick and efficient for the VAR to tell Turpin to change his decision to a free kick. The referee didn't have to go to the monitor for this as it was a factual decision based on position. If the VAR were questioning the foul, that would have been subjective and the referee would have had to make it.

It was also the first time fans in the stadium were provided with the same information offered to broadcasters, with the reason for the VAR decision displayed on the big screen. However, unlike other competitions, UEFA has decided against a referee announcing it over the public address system.

The reason for the cancelled penalty is shown on the big screen in the stadium. Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty ImagesPossible penalty and red card: Foul by Porteous on Gündogan

What happened: The game was in the 42nd minute when, after a scramble just outside the six-yard area, Ryan Porteous attempted to close down Ílkay Gündogan before he could shoot. Porteous clattered into the Germany captain, but referee Turpin waved away the penalty claims. As soon as the ball went out, it became clear Gündogan required treatment, and the VAR began a check.

VAR decision: Penalty, scored by Kai Havertz, and red card for Porteous.

Ryan Porteous makes a dangerous challenge on Ílkay Gündogan. Clive Mason/Getty Images

VAR review: Before the tournament began, referees' chief Roberto Rosetti said he expected a zero tolerance approach to challenges of this nature, which should be judged as serious foul play.

This is one of the more extreme examples, as Porteous was off the floor with both feet and caught Gündogan above the ankle.

Any tackle where a player is sliding, diving or leaping in and makes contact above the boot is likely to result in a VAR review if the referee hasn't made the correct decision to show a red card on the field.

This is something of a double whammy for Turpin, of course, as he failed to identify the foul for the penalty, let alone the red card.

Possible offside: Füllkrug before scoring

What happened: Niclas Füllkrug added a fifth goal for Germany in the 76th minute when firing home from close range after a cross by Thomas Müller. But a VAR check was needed.

VAR decision: Offside.

Niclas Füllkrug was in front of the last defender. ITV

VAR review: It was our first taste of semiautomated offside at Euro 2024, and it was a quick and seamless process. However, this was a clear offside involving two players stood close to each other. We are sure to see other decisions that take longer with this new offside technology, which will be introduced into the Premier League next season.

Indeed, the check on Scotland's consolation goal in the 87th minute, when Antonio Rüdiger diverted the ball into his own net, took much longer. The connected ball technology can tell the VAR when the ball has been played, and whether another player if offside, yet it cannot detect which player has played the ball. So, when the ball was headed on, coincidentally, by Germany's Füllkrug in a defensive position, Scotland's Lawrence Shankland was offside but not interfering with play. So, the VAR has to check there is no offside offence against the player highlighted by the technology.

June 15: Switzerland 3-1 HungaryPossible onside: Duah when scoring

What happened: Kwadwo Duah thought he had given Switzerland the lead in the 12th minute, running through the middle to score from Michel Aebischer's pass. However, the assistant raised his flag for offside as soon as the ball hit the back of the net.

VAR decision: Goal

VAR review: After semiautomated offside was used to disallow Germany's goal against Scotland, this time it corrected an error to disallow one as Hungary defender Milos Kerkez was behind Duah.

It took 55 seconds from the moment the ball hit the back of the net to the referee signalling the goal. That seems quite long, as Duah appeared to be clearly onside from the first replay. But this technology is still in its infancy, and a VAR is not going to immediately trust it if no offside has been detected. In these early stages, at least, every decision has to be verified -- although it's much quicker as the VAR has no manual role in determining the positions of the players relative to each other.

June 15: Spain 3-0 CroatiaPossible red card: Rodri challenge on Petkovic

What happened: Croatia were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute when Rodri fouled Bruno Petkovic, who seemed certain to score. Referee Michael Oliver showed the Spain player a yellow card with the VAR, Stuart Attwell, checking both the spot kick and a possible red card.

VAR decision: Penalty stands; Petkovic effort saved by Unai Simón.

Rodri brings down Bruno Petkovic. Julian Finney/Getty Images

VAR review: Rodri's tackle feels like one that should result in a red card, and it certainly has in past seasons. Yet the IFAB, football's lawmakers, have a dislike for a red card where a player has made a normal football action in relation to an opponent. So much so that last year the law for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) was relaxed further.

It now says that where a defending player denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by committing an offence that was an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball inside the penalty area then it should be treated as unsporting behaviour and the player only booked.

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It means that pretty much any challenge with the feet inside the box will now be considered unsporting behaviour rather than DOGSO. If the ball is in the vicinity of where the challenge is made, it is likely to be considered a challenge for the ball.

A player having "no possibility to play the ball" still exists in law, but it would have to be exceptionally cynical to qualify for a red card, which is essentially reserved for "holding, pulling, pushing."

Two seasons ago this would be a red card, now it's not so clear-cut.

You could also argue the penalty itself was soft, as Petkovic went down theatrically, but once given it won't be overturned.

Possible encroachment: Perisic on Petkovic goal

What happened: Petkovic stepped up to take the penalty, but it was saved by goalkeeper Simón. The loose ball ran for Ivan Perisic, who squared for Petkovic to tap home at the second attempt. While the players celebrated, Attwell checked for encroachment.

VAR decision: Goal disallowed.

Ivan Perisic was encroaching inside the area when the penalty was taken. Fox

VAR review: While the goalkeeper was stepping forward, he had one foot level with the goal line, so it was a legal save.

Perisic, however, was encroaching -- which is penalised by the VAR if it has a material impact on the outcome. As Perisic created the goal for Petkovic, it's clear that it did.

There's been a change to the protocol as of this summer. Previously, if any Spain player was encroaching too, then it would be a retake regardless of their involvement in the rebound action. It just so happens that in this case, Spain's defenders were incredibly disciplined and not one had entered the box early.

Now, the encroaching defender(s) must have a material impact too. For instance, attempting to challenge Perisic or Petkovic as they played the ball.

It means an attacking team cannot gain from inconsequential encroaching from the defending team when a penalty has been missed. It was providing a second chance at a penalty, with the attacking team getting a benefit from their own encroachment.

June 17: Belgium 0-1 SlovakiaPossible handball: Openda in buildup to Lukaku goal

What happened: Romelu Lukaku bagged an 86th-minute equaliser when he swept home a shot after good work by Loïs Openda, who cut the ball back for the striker to score. As soon as the ball hit the back of the net Slovakia defender Denis Vavro appealed for handball, and as the Belgium players raced away to celebrate, the VAR, Bastian Dankert of Germany, began a check.

VAR decision: Goal disallowed.

Loïs Openda brushes the ball with his fingers, with the snicko graphic providing the evidence. BBC

VAR review: It's the kind of handball in the buildup to a goal which you may not see in the Premier League, but is always likely to be penalised in UEFA competition which has a much stricter interpretation.

As Openda wasn't the goal scorer, the VAR and the referee, Turkey's Halil Umut Meler, have to judge it to be a deliberate act.

Openda was attempting to hold off Vavro and his fingers brushed the ball as his hand came down. Some will feel the movement of the arm is deliberate, but many others will believe it was the natural movement of his body and should never result in a VAR review.

It's not the kind of decision anyone really expected VAR to be making when it was introduced, but UEFA will insist on its guidelines being applied in these cases. But it does leave a bad taste.

UEFA also got the chance to show its new "snicko" feature for the first time, which uses a "heartbeat" line to prove the ball, which has a chip inside it, has been touched by the hand. It was expected this would be used for a player who had scored a goal, rather than a possible deliberate handball in the buildup. If you need "snicko" to prove the handball, is it really that consequential to the goal?

Possible offside: Lukaku when scoring

What happened: Belgium scored in the 56th minute when Lukaku tapped home from close range after Amadou Onana headed back across goal. While Belgium celebrated it was clear that the VAR would need to complete an offside check.

VAR decision: Goal disallowed.

The offside tech shows that Romelu Lukaku was ahead of the ball. Fox

VAR review: The handball wasn't the first heartbreak for Lukaku in this game, with the striker having two goals ruled out by the VAR.

For this earlier incident, half of his body was in front of the ball as it was headed by Onana.

While Lukaku was in front of the last defender, the goal would have counted if he'd been behind the ball.


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