Photo: Elsa/Getty Images
It is one of those controversial plays that you see over and over again, fuel debates and persecute their protagonists for a long time. In this case, those who will not easily forget her are the footballers of the German national team, although it did not happen on their field of play.
Did the ball cross the end line just before Japan’s second goal against Spain, the one in Japan’s 2-1 win?
It will be the eternal question for the German team, which this Thursday was eliminated from the Qatar 2022 World Cup with Japan’s victory over Spain thanks to a goal that left many in doubt.
Did it come out or didn’t it come out?
In the 51st minute of the match, the controversy arose in the match between Japan and Spain.
Barely 3 minutes after the first Japanese goal that led to the tie, came the second that left Spain on the ropes.
After a lateral assist, the ball reached the far post of the Spanish goal. There, the Japanese Mitoma swept the ball from the ground and gave a back pass for Tanaka to push at will and score 2-1.
At first, the goal was annulled by the referee, the South African Victor Gomes, but immediately then the VAR intervened, which after several minutes ruled that the ball had not left the field of play and validated the goal.
Even after cropping and zooming the image looks amazingly tight.
But the decision has to do with the ball curvature.
In other words: if you were to draw an imaginary line going up perpendicular to the outer edge of the white lime line, it would go through the curve of the ball.
Thus, even though the part of the ball that touched the ground completely crossed the line, the ball did not leave the field of play in its entire circumference.
“I have seen a photo that must be faked, it cannot be that this photo is real. It has to be manipulated,” Spanish coach Luis Enrique said later.
“I felt that there was something strange when the VAR took so long to make a decision… I have nothing to say,” he added, not wanting to get into the controversy.
Memories of other world
The controversy evoked images of the “phantom goal” not granted to Frank Lampard vs. Germany in 2010, when England lost in the round of 16 to the Germans.
For German fans of a certain age, it will no doubt have been taken back to 1966 and another “ghost goal”, this time by England’s Geoff Hurst in added time against Germany as England won the World Cup.
In Qatar, those 3 points for Japan meant the elimination of Germany, the four-time champions who are left out of the group stage in two consecutive World Cups.
It was just one more moment in a World Cup night filled with drama and emotion that will continue to be talked about.
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