Bizarre Euro 2022 scenes as VAR used to check ball crossed line in England goal vs Austria

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England were involved in an unusual moment in their Euro 2022 opener against Austria as VAR double-checked a decision by the goal-line technology. Beth Mead’s wonderful 16th-minute goal was given by goal-line technology but the restart was then paused while VAR ensured the decision was correct. 

Mead superbly controlled a pass inside the penalty area before looping an effort towards goal. It initially appeared that an Austrian defender had prevented the ball from crossing the line, with neither the assistant referee nor the referee awarding a goal. 

But the official soon allowed the strike after being given the signal from her watch. A referee receives a buzz on their watch when the ball has crossed the goal-line. 

Initial broadcast replies did not conclusively show that the ball had entered the goal and the restart was paused while VAR officials double-checked the decision. Following a brief VAR check, referee Marta Huerta da Aza confirmed that the Lionesses had taken the lead.

It is unusual for VAR to double-check a decision made by goal-line technology given the latter’s accuracy. VAR did not even intervene when goal-line technology stopped working during a Premier League fixture between Aston Villa and Sheffield United in 2020.

Sheffield United had appeared to score in the first half but the goal was not awarded as the goal-line technology had faltered. Villa won the game and ended up remaining in the top-flight by a point at the end of the campaign. 

The decision to award Mead’s goal was ultimately the correct one. The goal-line technology graphic showed that the ball had crossed the line by at least a few centimetres. 

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