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'Ridiculous decision!' - World Cup final referee Pitana slammed following controversial VAR call

12:20 AM GMT+8 16/07/2018
Nestor Pitana France Croatia World Cup 2018 Final 15072018
France took a 2-1 lead into half time during Sunday's final, largely thanks to a spot-kick decision made with the help of VAR

Referee Nestor Pitana has been slammed for his decision to award France a first-half penalty against Croatia in Sunday's World Cup final.

Mario Mandzukic became the first player to score an own goal in the tournament's final, heading an Antoine Griezmann free-kick past team-mate Danijel Subasic after 18 minutes.

Ivan Perisic levelled the game 10 minutes later but was called into question for handling inside his own box before half time.

Griezmann's corner was delivered toward Blaise Matuidi at the near post, with Perisic knocking the ball behind for what was perceived to be another corner kick.

The France team were adamant that the Croatia attacker had handled, however, protesting to the officials to review the play via VAR.

Pitana did eventually use the pitch-side screen to check the decision before awarding a France penalty.

He was widely criticised thereafter, with former players, pundits and fans claiming that he had indeed made a mistake.

Shearer took his criticism further, telling BBC : “There’s no way a ridiculous decision like that should affect the result in a World Cup final. It doesn’t deserve that. To boil down to a decision like that.

“Croatia have been brilliant. They haven’t given France any room whatsoever and they are losing this game from a free-kick that wasn’t a free-kick and from a penalty that was no way a penalty.

“It would be a crying shame if this game is decided by that. He’s taken so long, he’s certain that is deliberate handball, there’s no way that is deliberate handball. No way.”