Football fans were annoyed on Wednesday night, believing a huge refereeing error cost Canada a second penalty against Belgium, in their first World Cup game since 1986.
They haven’t had the easiest start to the campaign, coming up against the second-best team in the world, according to FIFA rankings.
Belgium had their own “golden generation”, with many believing they had missed their best chance of winning something in previous tournaments.
Despite Roberto Martinez’s side being favorites for the match, Canada flew out of the blocks as they hoped to score their country’s first-ever World Cup goal.
They had the perfect chance in the 10th minute, when Yannick Carrasco was ruled by VAR for handling the ball in the box.
Davies got up to take the kick but Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois was level with him and made a save, disallowing the Bayern Munich man.
Just two minutes later, the North Americans found themselves calling for another penalty, when Tajon Buchanan appeared to have tripped in the box.
The assistant referee came to the aid of the Europeans, raising his flag to show Buchanan was offside, meaning no VAR checks were needed.
However, fans noticed that the ball to Buchanan was actually played by Eden Hazard which meant there shouldn’t have been an offside flag.
“This is an ATROCIOUS call from the referee. Canada would have had a golden opportunity to score (and arguably could have been a penalty) but the referee calls it offside even though it was from a bad back pass from Hazard,” one fan said on social media.
“How did I just see that the potential penalty on Buchanan was called offside when Hazard was the one passing him? Lmfao so we should have had two rock walls which weren’t given, nice,” added a second.
A third needed clarification on what he saw, asking: “How was it not called as another penalty but given offside? Hazard returned the ball didn’t he?”
Another pointed out there could also have been a third kick, saying: “Hazard returned the ball, ref called offside on Canada, 1 penalty missed, 2 clear penalties not called .. this referee and VAR is a joke.”
All of Belgium, missed a penalty, should have received two more and somehow lost 1-0 at halftime.
Canada hasn’t been this screwed up since Survivor Series 1997. pic.twitter.com/0N8FQj6iGF
— PaddyPower (@paddypower) November 23, 2022
John Herdman’s side would not have been happy to see another penalty not awarded, when Axel Witsel appeared to trip Richie Laryea, but it was not awarded.
The official became a huge story earlier this year when he twice completed a game between Tunisia and Mali at the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The coach, who became the first to take charge of a team in a men’s and women’s World Cup, having led New Zealand Women in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments, was then reportedly disgusted to see his side fall behind .
Michy Batshuayi opened the deadlock on the stroke of halftime, guiding the ball home as it bounced over his shoulder on Toby Alderweireld’s pass.
Canada continued to be the better team, but couldn’t fight their way through and Martinez’s team took all three points.