Fifa World Cup 2014

Goal-line technology averts doubt, but not confusion in France win

Use of seven camera system saw right decision made after showing ball had narrowly crossed, however, it flashed conflicting messages

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 9:42pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 1:42am

Goal-line technology did its job when it mattered at the World Cup, although not without a little confusion.

France were the beneficiaries of the first World Cup goal awarded thanks to the new system being used in Brazil, which ruled that Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares had narrowly spilled the ball over his own line.

That gave France their second goal in a 3-0 victory and helped rule out any real controversy in a situation that would have been difficult for any referee to judge correctly.

However, Honduras players and coach Luis Suarez were still angry after the video replay seemed to show conflicting results.

The goal came in the 48th minute, when Karim Benzema's shot hit the far post and rebounded to Valladares, who fumbled the ball into the goal.

The seven video cameras trained on the goal established that the ball had briefly crossed the line by a few inches, alerting the referee on his watch with a flashing "GOAL", before the ball was pushed out again by keeper Valladares.

Confusion arose, however, when the system showed replays of Benzema's shot hitting the post with the verdict "NO GOAL" before continuing to display the rest of the sequence and the ball crossing the line.

The change infuriated the Honduras players, some of whom remonstrated with referee Sandro Ricci, while Honduras coach Suarez bickered with his French counterpart Didier Deschamps. At the end of the match, they hugged and made up.

"Well, I wasn't angry because they accepted the goal. I was angry because they didn't accept the goal. The first decision was 'no goal' and then the machine said it was a goal," Suarez said.

"So I don't know what to think. That's the point. If the technology sends a clear message, then I don't understand how the system can say it's a goal first and then 'no goal'. What is the truth?"

That replay also confused television commentators and viewers, while France defender Mamadou Sakho said the system could be improved.

"You see 'No goal' and then you see 'Goal'. Why not just show 'Goal'? Then everyone can agree and you don't need to hear the jeers from the crowd," Sakho said.

"Even I doubted for 10 seconds when I saw the 'No goal'. I thought, 'Oh dear, he's going to disallow it.' But then you see the ball had crossed the line."

Deschamps had some sympathy with the Hondurans over the images that were broadcast by organisers.

"The only problem was that they showed an image on the screen that didn't correspond to the goal," the France coach said. "They showed the ball hitting the post when the ball hadn't crossed the line yet. The ball was clearly over the line after the goalkeeper had fumbled.

"Obviously, I can put myself in their position and, of course, they were very angry and so were the fans - because if you're going to show an image it should be the right one."

As for the use of technology, however, he said: "It's a very good thing."

Fifa responded to the criticism by saying that "in order to ensure maximum clarity in the future for those unfamiliar with [goal-line technology], Fifa will review the coverage of this match ... to see if any improvements can be made to enhance the viewing experience for fans."

The system is in use for the first time at a major international tournament, but different types of goal-line technology have been implemented at club level.