Craig Foster says the World Cup’s most controversial penalty should NOT have been awarded to Portugal

Craig Foster says the World Cup’s most controversial penalty should NOT have been awarded to Portugal – and calls for a rule change before a superstar player is injured

Former Socceroos star and SBS analyst Craig Foster has questioned whether players must deliberately injure themselves to avoid conceding a penalty following a controversial VAR decision in Portugal’s World Cup game against Uruguay.

With Portugal leading 1-0 in extra time, Uruguay defender Jose Gimenez slipped into the box and tried to defend an attacking raid from Bruno Fernandes.

As he fell, he used his arm to protect himself, touching the ball in the process.

Uruguay’s Jose Maria Gimenez handles the ball in the area and misses a penalty during the FIFA World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay

Iranian official Alireza Faghani referred the decision to VAR where it was determined that Gimenez had committed a handball and Fernandes calmly slotted home the penalty for the final 2-0 scoreline.

But Faghani and VAR have been criticized for the decision by Foster and football fans worldwide because players should have the right to protect themselves if they fall.

‘Gimenez is trying to argue, where else is he going to put his hand?’ asked commentator Lucy Ward.

“He has tried to balance himself and blocked the shot.”

Uruguay's Jose Gimenez, right, argues with referee Alireza Faghani over the controversial decision sent to VAR

Uruguay’s Jose Gimenez, right, argues with referee Alireza Faghani over the controversial decision sent to VAR

Fellow commentator David Stowell responded: ‘The Uruguayans are furious.’

The International Football Association Board changed the handball rules in 2019 with a number of key awards.

They include that a penalty will not be awarded if:

The ball touches a player’s hand/arm close to the body and has not made the silhouette unnaturally larger or;

A player falls and the ball touches the hand/arm when it is between the body and the ground (but not extended to make the body bigger).

SBS analyst and former Australian, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich further explained the new rules:

“It is not a foul if the ball touches a player or arm … when a player falls and the hand or arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, as Gimenez was,” he said.

“But do not extend laterally or vertically away from the body. So he might have pinged him on the last one and extended it vertically, but I think that’s incredibly harsh.’

Former Socceroo and SBS analyst Craig Foster believes players have a right to protect themselves and there should not have been a penalty

Former Socceroo and SBS analyst Craig Foster believes players have a right to protect themselves and there should not have been a penalty

Foster said the part of the rule that says a player cannot support himself with a vertical arm was questionable and should not have been a penalty.

“What the rule essentially says is that when players fall and go to the ground, they have to have the right to protect themselves and put their arm down instead of just taking the hit to their body,” he said.

– For the players’ safety, what he did is perfectly OK, so I think it is very doubtful. What else is he going to do?

“He’s going down, there’s nowhere else for him to put his hand.

“Was it slow enough that it made him move his hand and say I’m going to sort of [intentionally hit the ball]? No, it wasn’t.

– In the end I don’t think it should have been a penalty, but still Portuguese fans don’t care. Uruguayans will.

Most neutral fans thought that Gimenez was hard done by.

“It’s so unfair! “Handball” by Uruguay and penalty to Portugal – the guy slipped a total accident – so now it’s 2-0 Portugal you’d feel gutted if you were Uruguayan – gutted, wrote Sky News Sports presenter Jacquie Beltrao.

“The sport we used to play and love is dead. FIFA is responsible for this. The handball that the referee gave against Uruguay is the proof, wrote an Argentine.

“An absolute stinker of a VAR decision to award a penalty to Portugal vs. Uruguay. And that goal could still cost Uruguay a place in the next round, wrote ESPN editor Dale Johnson.

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