FRANCE have demanded Fifa change the result of their final group game – because Tunisia kicked off before their “equaliser” was annulled.
Antoine Griezmann thought he had rescued a point when he fired home in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
But the goal was chalked off after Kiwi ref Matthew Conger blew the final whistle for a controversial offside call.
Griezmann was walking back from an offside position when the ball was lofted into the Tunisia box by Aurelien Tchouameni, although he did not challenge for the ball.
Tunisian defender Montassar Talbi then rose to head clear only to miscue his attempt and present the ball on a plate for Griezmann to find the net.
Despondent Tunisia then kicked off to restart play, with Conger blowing the final whistle a second or so after.
It was only then that he was alerted to the potential offside by Qatari VAR Abdullah al-Marri, who argued that Talbi had not “deliberately” played the ball, making Griezmann offside.
That was a questionable call in itself, as Talbi was not under pressure, could have let the ball run out of play and simply mistimed his leap and header.
Conger, though, backed the VAR – who also intervened to help award the penalty for Portugal’s second goal against Uruguay, which was given in clear breach of Ifab guidelines on what constitutes a handball offence – to chalk off the goal.
VAR regulations DO allow decisions to be changed after the final whistle – Manchester United were awarded a match-winning penalty at Brighton last season in those circumstances.
But the regulations state, clearly, that once play has restarted after a stoppage, no decisions can be reversed.
That is the crux of the French protest, with FA chiefs understood to be determined to ensure Fifa buckles and officially turns a 1-0 defeat into a 1-1 draw.
Both Conger and al-Marri are now are serious risk of being sent home from the World Cup when the officials’ cut is made at the conclusion of the group phase tomorrow.
That would be an embarrassment for the hosts, however, whose side were eliminated after two games and whose formal on-pitch involvement at the World Cup would be concluded by such a decision.