While in major competitions in Europe UEFA has decided that goal-line officials will suffice, the world governing body announced last year that this summer’s tournament would feature the GoalControl system which was brought into play for the first time in Sunday’s Group E encounter.
But while Honduras coach Luis Suarez found fault with the decision made after consultation with the GoalControl replay, the process could not have been any clearer. After Karim Benzema’s initial shot hit Noel Valladares’ left-hand post, the goalkeeper then bundled the loose ball slightly over the line before attempting to scramble it clear once more.
With initial confusion over the decision, the big screen showed GoalControl replays first of Benzema’s shot, which didn’t clear the line, then of Valladares’ fumble, which was shown to have crossed for a goal.
Valladares was left staring at the assistant referee in a bid to find an ally and Suarez had a heated exchange with French counterpart Didier Deschamps, but the final decision of Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci had already been made thanks to the technology.
It was a somewhat scrappy response to an otherwise clear process, and follows some precedents in other sports of players and team officials taking to the new regime slowly.
Baseball made the move to include a challenge system earlier this year, leading to some confusion from managers as to what calls they can and cannot challenge, while in cricket there was initial conjecture over the margin of error needed for a decision to be overturned.
In both codes of rugby, there have also been question marks over how much the video referee can adjudicate upon. Meanwhile, tennis took its time coming to grips with the Hawkeye system, especially with some calls looking out on replay but showing in, and vice versa.
So as introductions to technology go, football’s wasn’t too dissimilar to those experienced across the sporting fraternity.
On first evidence, it would appear Goal Line Technology is a winner. But those failing to wrap their heads around its workings might take some time to be sold on its effectiveness.
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