Goal-line technology did its job when it counted at the World Cup, although not without a little bit of confusion.
was the beneficiary of the first World Cup goal awarded thanks to the
new system being used in Brazil, which ruled correctly that Honduras
goalkeeper Noel Valladares had narrowly spilled the ball over his own
That gave France its second goal in a 3-0 win and helped
rule out any real controversy in an 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 showed two
separate incidents and therefore conflicting results.
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.
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
The confusion happened when the system showed replays
of Benzema's shot hitting the post with the verdict "NO GOAL" before
continuing to show the rest of the sequence and the ball crossing the
The change infuriated the Honduras players, some of whom
remonstrated with referee Sandro Ricci, while Honduras coach Luis Suarez
bickered with France coach 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 through a translator. "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 video replay also confused some TV
commentators and viewers, and France defender Mamadou Sakho said that
part of the system could still 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," France defender
Mamadou 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 organizers.
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.
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, though, he said: "It's a very good thing."
Yohan Cabaye, whose perfectly weighted pass led to Benzema's shot, used
good old-fashioned eyesight to determine what had happened.
where I was standing I could see the ball had gone in, and I was
right," Cabaye said. "I think if the referee gave it straight away, he
knew on his watch that it was a goal. But there was a bit of confusion
when we saw 'No goal' on the giant screen."
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 being
used for the first time at a major international football tournament,
although different types of goal-line technology have already been
implemented in club football.
"We've been using it in the Premier
League this season," said France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who plays for
Tottenham. "It worked, it confirmed the goal was valid. The images speak
France also benefited from the first ever Golden
Goal at a World Cup when defender Laurent Blanc scored late into extra
time in the second round against Paraguay in 1998 - the year it won the
Benzema scored France's two other goals, the first with a penalty, the other with an emphatic right-foot finish.