How to prove that VAR is garbage with just one video (What really grinds my gears #17)

So here we go again. Actually, I was planning not to write much about VAR in modern football anymore. I think I’ve sufficiently stated how much I dislike this new feature and how much I think that it’s rather destroying football than actually adding something useful to it.

But not too long ago, VAR has been confirmed at the World Cup in Russia this summer. How exciting… As we’ve clearly seen an the Confed Cup – nothing less than the official trial in international football for the VAR – the technique has way too many problems to be used at the most important and biggest football tournament in the world.

Well, apparently FIFA has another opinion. And from my point of view I only have one explanation for this decision: FIFA officials have not watched a single game of football in Germany, Australia, Italy or Portugal this year.

Because in these leagues, among a few others, VAR is being used since the beginning of the seasons. And failures haven’t been rare. Many people that were longing for VAR to be introduced have since changed their minds and see VAR – as it is now – as harmful for their beloved sport.

Why? Because it may provide a little bit more fairness in the game, having goals disallowed because of players being offside by five centimetres, not visible for the linesman to see. But what’s the price we’re paying for that? Emotions! Having to wait after every second goal of your club if some guy in front of a plasma screen a few hundred kilometres away will allow it or not kills what makes football so special – the power of instantaneous emotions.

Don’t believe me? Have a look at this video from last weekend then.

It shows AC Milan player Patrick Cutrone after allegedly having scored a goal. However, he, all his teammates and every Milan fan couldn’t celebrate it instantly. Instead they had to wait for minutes while the goal was under review by VAR. After the goal is allowed, Cutrone tries to celebrate. Well, he’s the only one who really does. No collective ecstasy in the stadium, no relief after having scored an important goal, nothing.

This episode proves how much harm VAR does to football. For a rather unimportant league game this might be not so terrible after all. But imagine if Mario Götze’s World Cup winning goal from 2014 would have been reviewed like that. Do we really want this to happen?

How do you feel about VAR being used at the World Cup? Let’s discuss in the comment section!

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More than just a game: This Syrian TV-Commentator is the proof that football truly has an immense emotional power

Oftentimes, when I talk to people about football, I say that this sport is more than a game. The emotional bond between a fan and a team is something stronger than what onlookers see. To them, football might be just 22 men chasing a ball and getting overpaid for that.

That’s simply not true. You know that when you stood out there on the stands of your local team’s stadium, having the rain pour down on you for 90 minutes and then see your team score in the additional time: Against the odds, against everything. A miracle. What follows is a pure outburst of emotion: Joy, pride, tears, ecstasy and many, many more. It’s when you hug complete strangers that you wouldn’t even greet on the street just because a ball went into a net that is held by a construction of metal. It’s when bonds are formed that are so hard to describe in words.

If you experienced that feeling, and when you’re reading a widely unknown football blog in the depths of the internet, I assume you did, you’ll know what I mean. You’ll probably remember those moments right now. No matter what team you support (ok maybe not Arsenal, just kidding) you’ll have had such moments before. They’re what makes football so special.

But now imagine this not just being your local team beating the league leader or a famous club in the champions league. Imagine that this moment would be one of the few moments of joy and especially of unity that a crisis-ridden nation would have got to enjoy during years of war, violence, fear and lack of perspectives. That’s what happened in Syria this week.

The country that makes the headlines nearly on a daily basis because of its civil war, the terrible crimes of extremist terror groups and the many war sites between countless groups of interests finally appeared in the public eye concerning a completely different matter: Football.

Despite the terrible situation in their home country, the Syrian national team has played a very decent qualifier for the world championship in Russia in 2018 and now, on the last day of this qualifiers, the Syrians would have needed a point against Iran in order to keep their dream alive and make it into the Asian playoffs against Australia.

After being down 2-1 until the additional time, this dream seemed over. But then one of these magic moments, I’ve talked about earlier on, striked. Out of nowhere the Syrians got the ball and could launch one last attack in the 92nd minute of the game. The ball came to Omar al-Soma, who netted it finally. Syria made it.

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Source: Twitter

It must have been a moment of joy and unity, that we in the western world wouldn’t be able to imagine. A shattered country trembling together for its national team to keep the Syrian dream alive. And Omar al-Soma making this happen in the 92nd minute. This comeback might not have been as extreme as Barcelona’s against PSG in the Champions League, but to the fans, it meant more. I can promise you that.

Watch the goal and the commentator’s outburst here:

Because in this little moment, many Syrians could forget their sorrows, forget the war and be joyful and proud of their country once again. Assad followers and rebels the like – the football managed to unite huge parts of the country. Surely, there’s still some more people who couldn’t be bothered about football while pursuing their goal of establishing a religious terror state in this region, but they don’t deserve to be talked about here.

The commentator’s breakdown after the goal has gone viral since the game. Hearing him screaming and then bursting in tears just perfectly describes the magic of football. The celebrations in many Syrian cities, whether they were under control of the Assad government or the rebels, proved that football has the power to unite an entire country.

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Source: Twitter

For the sake of the Syrian population it would surely be great to see them make it to the world championship. But there’s still a long road to go. After the duel with Australia there would come another playoff against a side from South America (possibly the former World Cup finalist Argentina).

But even getting to this first playoff stage is a vast success for Syria, a country that has to play its home games in Malaysia due to terror dangers and has lost around 40 footballers from the first two divisions in the civil war. And for the country it certainly isn’t just about results – it’s about magic moments like this 92nd minute in Tehran that made the world seem good for just a little while.