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Would VAR have eradicated these legendary World Cup injustices?

Majority of soccer fans polled think so.

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Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' moment in 1986. (El Gráfico via Wikimedia Commons)

By Richard Jenkins, 72Point via SWNS

Red card! Millions of football fans are STILL sore about Diego Maradona’s infamous "Hand of God" knocking England out of the World Cup in 1986 - as 43 percent say they will "never forgive him."

A poll of 2,000 lovers of the game found the Argentine ace’s controversial goal topped a list of the most controversial World Cup moments that might have benefited from video replays for referees.

Other memorable moments fans believe would have benefited from VAR, include Frank Lampard’s clearly over-the-line shot against Germany in 2010, which wasn’t given.

And in qualifying games, Thierry Henry’s blatant - yet unpunished - handball against Ireland in 2009 was chosen by 28 percent.

Just under one in five (19 percent), however, also suspect Geoff Hurst’s game-changing goal in the 1966 final, which England went on to win, might not have been given had VAR been around.

The research was commissioned by Samsung UK to showcase the 2022 range of Neo QLED TVs, featuring Quantum Dot technology.

VAR analyst and former professional referee Dermot Gallagher, working with Samsung, said: “As a proud Irish man, the most controversial decision for me has to be Thierry Henry’s handball in the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in 2009.

“With VAR and decent tech in place, the foul would have been called, bringing the tied game to penalties.”

Other World Cup injustices football fans recall include Spain having two perfectly good goals disallowed against tournament hosts South Korea in 2002 (19 percent).

And 21 percent are still bitter about West Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann diving in 1990 final, which got the Argentine Monzón sent off.

More than six in 10 (63 percent) of respondents believe VAR would have eradicated most of the World Cup injustices that have taken place over the years.

But 48 percent say while VAR has advantages, it still has a way to go before it’s a truly useful tool when it comes to refereeing matches.

The biggest drawback football fans see with VAR is that it means you don’t know whether a goal can be celebrated, in case it’s chalked off for some unseen infringement (28 percent).

Another 28 percent think it’s being used for the ‘wrong’ reasons - like trying to gauge if a handball was deliberate, instead of a black-and-white decision like if a ball had crossed the line.

And 19 percent believe that far from solving any debates, VAR actually leads to even more arguments among pundits post-game.

The study also found during a typical World Cup match, fans will disagree with a referee’s decision four times.

And a staggering 36 percent even believe they could competently referee a match at the highest level - the World Cup finals.

Spokesperson Zeena Hill, for Samsung UK, which has offered to supply the English Football Association, and FIFA World Cup, VAR departments with Neo QLED TVs to help with picture detail, said: “With recent success for the English national teams, the excitement for this year’s World Cup is bigger than ever."

TOP CONTROVERSIAL WORLD CUP MOMENTS THAT WOULD HAVE BENEFITTED FROM VAR:

  1. Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in 1986
  2. Frank Lampard’s shot against Germany hit the bar and clearly crossed the line, but wasn’t given in 2010
  3. Thierry Henry’s handball for France vs Ireland in a 2010 World Cup Qualifier
  4. West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher unpunished, incredible foul against France’s Patrick Battiston in 1982
  5. Holland’s Nigel de Jong not being sent off for a studs-up foul into Spain’s Xabi Alonso’s chest in the opening minutes of the 2010 World Cup Final
  6. West Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann’s iconic dive in the 1990 Final resulting in Argentina’s Monzón being sent off in 1990
  7. Portugal’s Luis Figo not getting sent off for a headbutt against Netherland’s Van Bommel in 2006
  8. Neymar receiving a yellow card and not a red for an elbow in Brazil’s game against Croatia in 2014
  9. Spain having two perfectly good goals disallowed against South Korea in 2002
  10. Geoff Hurst’s goal for England in the 1966 World Cup Final

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