Belfast Telegraph

World Cup final: Alan Shearer blasts 'ridiculous' VAR decision for France penalty

By Gareth Hanna

Alan Shearer has blasted the decision to award France a first-half penalty during the World Cup final as 'ridiculous'.

Referee Nestor Pitana pointed to the spot after a long VAR consultation and Antoine Griezmann gave his side a 2-1 advantage over Croatia 38 minutes in. France went on to win the final 4-2.

The decision followed the ball striking the arm of Croatian goal-scorer Ivan Perisic, who had levelled the game with a thundering effort on 28 minutes, after Mario Mandzukic's own goal gave France the lead.

Referee Pitana reviewed the decision himself at the pitch-side monitor and eventually gave the penalty.

Shearer and the entire BBC panel, also including Rio Ferdinand and Jurgen Klinsmann, agreed that the decision to award the spot-kick was wrong.

"It would be a crying shame if the game was decided here," Shearer said. "The referee has got to be certain it's a deliberate hand-ball. It's come from a yard at pace - there's no way it's deliberate.

"The referee didn't give it originally. He went to VAR and then he's certain he has made a big error in a World Cup final. I don't agree with that.

"I didn't want that decision to decide it because we've had such a brilliant tournament."

The decision followed another contentious call to award France the free-kick that led to the 18th minute opener, with Shearer arguing that Griezmann wasn't fouled.

"He was expecting to be hit and he wasn't," said Shearer at half-time. "That's a dive. It's not a free-kick. That's not enough for a foul.

"Croatia have been brilliant and they're losing because of a free-kick that wasn't a free-kick and a penalty that wasn't a penalty."

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