Iran played Portugal in their final group match which could determine who qualified to the knockouts.
The first half was filled with delays due to fouls and a miscommunication between the Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand and Saeid Ezatolahi who could have allowed Inter midfielder Joao Mario to punish Iran.
The first half ended with a beautiful goal with the signature outside foot by Ricardo Quaresma on his World Cup debut giving Portugal the lead into the second half.
5 minutes into the second half, VAR overturned the initial referee decision when Cristiano Ronaldo was fouled by Ehsan Haji Safi inside the box, but the referee dismissed it until reaching the incident.
3 minutes later, Ronaldo’s penalty was saved by the Iranian goalkeeper which drew loud celebrations by the Iranian fans.
Once again, VAR was used to analyse a foul committed by Cristiano Ronaldo which was initially dismissed by the referee in the 80th minute.
Ronaldo’s hand hit Morteza Pouraliganji face and the Portuguese star had to wait anxiously for his World Cup fate to be decided.
VAR is used if the foul was a possible red card but took 3 minutes for the referee to make the decision which was only a yellow card for Ronaldo.
Iran increased the pressure on Portugal with more chances but again, VAR forced the referee to review a possible handball inside the Portuguese penalty box when Ramin Rezaeian’s cross into the box hit Cedric Soares’ hand unintentionally.
But for the third time, VAR overturned the referee’s initial decision to dismiss it.
Karim Ansarifard scored a brilliant penalty in the 93rd minute. This was the record-breaking 20th penalty of the World Cup so far.
Iran pushed for the winner when Mehdi Taremi’s shot hit the side net in the 96th minute which could have eliminated Portugal.
The game ended with Portuguese players surrounding the referee which led to Cedric Soares receiving a yellow card.
The highlight of the game is VAR being used three times to overturn the referee’s on pitch decision three times which I believed he initially got it right each time.
Portugal with Spain qualified but Portugal finished second, and are therefore playing Uruguay in the last 16 while Iran is going home but with their heads up after a good performance against the Euro 2016 winner.
Source of Image – BBC