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World Cup 2018

Russia 2018 breaks World Cup penalties record as VAR drama continues to steal spotlight

With 20 penalties awarded before the group stage has even been completed, Russia 2018 has seen more spot-kicks than any previous World Cup.

Russia 2018 breaks World Cup penalties record as VAR drama continues to steal spotlight
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Russia 2018 has broken the record for the most penalties awarded in a World Cup, with VAR continuing to dominate debate.

Portugal's dramatic 1-1 draw with Iran in Group B's final round on Monday included the 19th and 20th spot-kicks of the tournament.

Golden Boot contender Cristiano Ronaldo was denied by Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand after VAR overturned the initial on-field decision before incredible late drama in Saransk.

Sardar Azmoun's header was blocked by Cedric Soares' arm, with referee Enrique Caceres again opting not to point to the spot.

After consulting the video replay system, though, Caceres awarded the penalty and Karim Ansarifard converted to earn Iran a point, although the result was not enough to send Carlos Queiroz's side through at the expense of their opponents.

The previous record for number of penalties at a World Cup stood at 18 - that figure having been reached on three occasions, in 1990, 1998 and 2002.

VAR, in use for the first time at a World Cup, has been a hot topic throughout the tournament with players and coaches split on its usage.

While Ronaldo was the beneficiary of a penalty awarded against Iran, the Real Madrid superstar arguably should have been sent off for clashing with Morteza Pouraliganji.

Although Ronaldo made contact with a swinging arm, after consulting VAR Caceres opted to show the Portugal captain a yellow card rather than a red.


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