Former FIFA Referee Delivers Verdict on Controversial Japan Goal

Japan's Kaoru Mitoma crosses the ball during their recent match against Spain. Photo - Twitter

Former DStv Premiership referee, Victor Hlungwani has delivered his verdict on the build-up to Japan’s Ao Tanaka’s goal in the FIFA World Cup match against Spain during the week.

With the game still level at 1-1 in the second half, both sides were continuing to probe for the second goal, and the best opportunity of the match came in the way of Tanaka’s goal to make it two for Japan.

After a short VAR check, the officials involved on the day decided that the goal decision should stick. That refereeing decision became talk of the weekend as pundits and experts discussed the decision to award Japan a controversial goal.

The goal ensured Japan a 2-1 win, which resulted in the Samurai Blue overtaking Germany and Spain to top group B. Speaking to ThisIsFootball.Africa, Hlungwani insisted it was the right decision from Gomez, since according to the laws of the game, the ball was not out of play.

“The law is clear, it says the ball is out of play when the whole circumference of the ball has crossed the goal line or the touch line,” Hlungwani tells Thisisfootball.Africa.

“Now the question is, did the entire ball cross over the line? The answer, no, a little part of the ball was still on the line, therefore the play continues.

“The ball was not out, it was still in play and on the line. We don’t follow the opinions of people who say the ball was seemingly out of play. When you say it seemed like it was out, I come with the law and say it was still in play.

“You can say the small part of the ball was on the line, it’s fine, but what does the rule says, it says the full ball must cross over the line to be considered being out. That small piece played a big role.”

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Former FIFA Referee Victor Hlungwani. Photo - BackpagePix
Former FIFA Referee Victor Hlungwani. Photo – BackpagePix