Penalty retake shambles reaches pointless levels and Scotland are dumped out 1 month ago

Penalty retake shambles reaches pointless levels and Scotland are dumped out

73 minutes are gone. Scotland are 3-0 up.

By the time the 90th minute has rolled around, it's 3-2 and Argentina have a penalty.

92': Penalty is saved.

93': VAR intervenes and orders a retake.

94': Penalty is scored.

The game ends 3-3.

Lee Alexander is punished because her heel has fractionally left the line as the ball is already being kicked and Scotland are dumped out of the 2019 Women's World Cup.

The use of VAR is taking stinging criticism during this tournament.

Just two days ago, the hosts France were not awarded a penalty against Nigeria, until VAR stepped in. That also resulted in a red card. The penalty was taken and missed. Then VAR stepped in. The penalty was retaken and France eventually scored.

And the scenes on Wednesday night weren't short of shambolic.

Alexander made a decent save of a tame penalty down to her right but because one of her feet did not keep contact with the line, the rules state that it should be retaken, regardless of how little advantages her position gave her in real life.

As the penalty is being struck, the 'keeper hasn't narrowed the angle or done anything to impede the taker.

She's a few inches further forward - barely - and still has to get down low to make the save.

Her stance isn't even noteworthy.

The rules - as often happens - don't account for how people actually play. And move.

The goals are 24 feet wide. That's 12 feet at either side that a goalkeeper has to cover and the strict enforcement of these rules means that it's difficult to get a push off to dive and block that space when necessary. They have 12 feet right or left and the time it takes a ball to get from the spot to the line to get there.

All the advantages are stacked in the penalty-taker's favour and the way the officials have been using VAR during the Women's World Cup results in the rules affecting the mindset of the player.

As the retake was about to be hit for Argentina, Lee Alexander was taking up position from behind the line and ended up just stepping to the side out of the way of an even tamer penalty than the first.

The referee and the occasion were all inside her head at that stage and Scotland were sent packing on the most pointless of technicalities.

They'll not thank themselves for blowing a 3-0 lead but they'll not blame Lee Alexander either who flicked her heel off the line.

She should've been a national hero on Wednesday night. But VAR stepped in and overruled that.