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
VAR overturn: Griezmann goal disallowed for offside
What happened: Antoine Griezmann thought he had scored a dramatic equaliser for France in the 98th minute, but there was a VAR review for offside.
VAR decision: Goal disallowed.
VAR review: This drills right to the very heart of the offside law, and the definition of a "deliberate play" to reset a phase. And there's a huge question over whether it went against VAR protocol.
On VAR protocol itself, referee Matthew Conger of New Zealand had blown for full-time. This doesn't prevent a VAR review, though it's poor process because the referee should hold play rather than blow the final whistle, if possible, if a review is taking place. There was ample time for the referee and the VAR team to be in communication about it.
The situation for any VAR review which results in a changed decision is that the match, in effect, resumes at the point when the initial error occurred -- even if this is after full-time.
Therefore, the match restarted with a free kick to Tunisia, timed at the point of the Griezmann offside, and play continued for 40 seconds.
Video evidence appears to show that Conger gave one short whistle for the kickoff, followed instantly -- but with a definite gap -- by the full-time whistle. This means he has allowed play to restart and by VAR protocol it isn't possible to review the offside offence.
If the referee had blown for full-time after the goal, the review was possible. But the restart followed by the immediate full-time whistle invalidates the review.
Fault here could fall on two fronts.
Firstly, the communication between the VAR and the referee; was the referee immediately made aware there was a review ongoing about the goal?
Then, the referee himself. If the VAR isn't aware the restart has been allowed, the referee should be providing this information. Both referee and VAR should know that a review isn't possible after his restart.
The Laws of the Game states that an incorrect review doesn't invalidate a match, but France are adamant it should be a 1-1 draw.
Onto the decision itself, which is no less complicated.
When Aurelien Tchouameni played the ball into the area, Griezmann was stood yards offside. However, the France striker made no attempt to play the ball or challenge an opponent.
Defender Montassar Talbi tried to head the ball, but he didn't get much on the clearance and it dropped to Griezmann, who scored.
If the officials believed Talbi had made a "deliberate play," the phase is reset, Griezmann is onside and the goal counts.
If the officials believed Talbi hasn't made a "deliberate play," the phase isn't reset, Griezmann remains offside from Tchouameni's pass, and the goal is disallowed.
Essentially, a "deliberate play" is about the defender being in control of his actions. It's not purely about a player trying to kick or head a ball. If the defender has to stretch to play the ball, and can't have true influence about where it goes, that's not considered a "deliberate play." Whether a player is being challenged at that time is also a factor.
This is a hugely subjective area of the offside law, which is why Conger had to go to the pitchside monitor to make the decision.
The VAR, Abdullah al-Marri -- who was also on duty for the controversial handball penalty given to Portugal against Uruguay on Monday -- and his Qatari colleague acting as the offside VAR, Taleb al-Marri, will have advised that Talbi wasn't in control of the header and was stretching, therefore this cannot be a "deliberate play."
This is an IFAB example of a "deliberate play" header = no offside.— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) November 30, 2022
It's similar to Montassar Talbi's, but with more control over the direction. Shows how complex it is.
But Antoine Griezmann's goal probably shouldn't have been disallowed through VAR. #TUNFRA #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/ps3kys3Hzh
This decision will be equally as controversial, because the intricacies of the "deliberate play" aren't widely known or understood.
Whether you feel this is a correct decision will ultimately rest upon what you feel should constitute a "deliberate play." But it's fair to say most people will feel this is an exceptionally harsh VAR decision.