We're analysing every VAR decision made throughout all 64 games at the 2022 World Cup. Morocco could have been given a penalty against France, but the decision went in favour of Les Bleus. What happened?
After each game, we take a look at the major incidents to examine and explain the process both in terms of VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.
- World Cup VAR review in full: Every decision analysed
Possible penalty: Foul by Hernandez on Boufal
What happened: In the 27th minute, Theo Hernandez had a heavy touch on the ball just inside the area. Sofiane Boufal came in to challenge the France defender but Hernandez got a touch on the ball first. Referee Cesar Ramos of Mexico gave the free kick against Boufal and booked the Morocco player for the challenge.
VAR decision: No penalty.
VAR review: A controversial outcome, because what is certain is that Boufal shouldn't have been booked. The Morocco player made no challenge and was in fact kicked by Hernandez. So how does the game still continue with a free kick to France and a caution for Boufal?
This comes down to whether you think the touch on the ball by Hernandez cancels out the possibility of the penalty -- but it doesn't allow the defender to challenge an opponent in any manner.
The touch on the ball will be the justification for the VAR, but if the defender's challenge is deemed to be reckless or out of control, the VAR should still be looking to advise an overturn for a penalty kick. Hernandez plays the ball with his left foot, but then makes contact with Boufal with his right leg; the follow-through was not justifiable by the touch on the ball and the challenge that came after.
The VAR, Drew Fischer of Canada, has been one of the most active of the tournament, with this being his eighth appointment as lead video assistant. He was the VAR who advised Saudi Arabia should be awarded a very soft penalty against Poland, with Salem Al-Dawsari's effort saved by Wojciech Szczesny. This feels more of a penalty than that incident.
The only way Boufal's yellow card could be rescinded would be if there was a VAR overturn to award a penalty.