It was yet another dramatic day at the 2022 World Cup, as Tunisia, Argentina, and Poland joined already qualified France in the Last 16, but in a rare instance for this tournament, it’s VAR that dominated a lot of the headlines — and (again) reminded everyone that at the end of the day, it’s still humans who are operating the technology and making the decisions.
That said, the decision to rule out Antoine Griezmann’s last-minute equalizer for France didn’t actually change anything beyond the final score in that game. Tunisia’s 1-0 win still wasn’t enough for them to qualify from Group D thanks to Australia’s equally rousing 1-0 win over a surprisingly listless Denmark. France had nothing to play for — already guaranteed top spot — and thus rotated almost their entire team, but Denmark had it all on the line. The Danes, a fairly popular pick for a tournament dark horse, leave after three games with just 1 point and 1 goal, even that scored by an unlikely source in Andreas Christensen. Not great!
France have launched an appeal to get Griezmann’s goal reinstated due to a procedural error (referee blowing for full time while the review was ongoing) as opposed to a disagreement with the call (a judgement call whether the Tunisian defender was making a deliberate play on the ball or not). Either way, that’s unlikely to actually result in anything, and as mentioned, it’s not going to change anything anyway.
This video would seem to suggest there is one short whistle for the kick-off, quickly followed by the usual full-time whistle.— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) November 30, 2022
There appears to be a small but definite gap between the two.
And that should tell us the referee permitted the kickoff. https://t.co/5aiyVUZFo0
After all that early drama off the pitch, we had some late drama on the pitch as well in Group C, where the fates of Poland and Mexico were decided by various tie-breakers. At one point, we were down to fair play, which is the last step before a literal coin flip, but eventually Poland would advance as Mexico wasted a ton of chances and conceded a late consolation goal to Saudi Arabia. El Tri’s 2-1 win was thus not enough to earn them second place, which instead went to Poland, despite a rather poor and quite lucky 2-0 defeat to Messi & Co (which really should’ve been at least twice as big of a defeat).
This now means that half of the knockout bracket match-ups are set. Argentina will play Australia, and then take on the winner of Netherlands and the United States, while on the other side, France will play Poland and then take on the winner of England and Senegal. Tasty!