Nations League final: Why was Mbappé's goal not offside?
Former ref Iturralde explains why Mbappé's winner was not offside: "It's a poor clearance. The replay doesn't show Eric Garcia touching the ball".
Tonight's Nations League final didn't pass without some controversy. The first came on 31 minutes when a Rodri cross hit Koundé on the hand in the box. The ball hit the elbow of the French defender's trailing arm. For Iturralde González, former referee and collaborator for AS and Carrusel, it was not a penalty: "His hand is in a natural position for that particular move. He isn't attempting to block the ball with it".
Pogba goes into the book
Paul Pogba picked upo the first yellow card of the game on 46 minutes when he was late in a challenge with Busquets. The ref made the right decision, says Iturralde: "He stamped on him, it's a fierce tackle. A clear yellow card. He protested because there was no blood. Stamping on a player si always a booking".
Less problematic was a weak penalty appeal when Gavi was floored by Tchouameni in the 56th minute. The ref waved play on and Iturralde agrees it was the correct call: "He gets his leg right in and takes the ball cleanly. Nothing in it".
Busquets: "the referee told us that Eric Garcia wanted to play the ball and that kills the offside... But he wanted to play the ball because the ball would have reached Mbappe who was offside! It doesn't make sense!" pic.twitter.com/imhepp236Z— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) October 10, 2021
But the most controversial decision of the whole game, at least for Spain, came on 80 minutes. Spain's players insisted that Mbappé was offside in the move that led to France's second goal. VAR was consulted and the goal was given. For AS' in-house refereeing expert, it is not offside because Eric García interfered in the move and touched the ball after it had been passed: "He starts off in an offside position, that's not in any doubt. Touching the ball doesn't stop it being offside, he needs to try to clear the ball but it is not that clear to see. In the replay, he launches himself to the ground to clear the ball but if he touches the ball, the goal is valid. Eric was on the ground and made contact and that aided Mbappé".
He continued, "From the angle we are viewing the move, we can't see the ball. Eric touches the ball. To clear up any problems, Mbappé is not interfering in the clearance, but his presence is conditioning it. The rules states that there has to be interference. Eric García is free to clear the ball or not. During the days when I was refereeing, it would not have been offside either because the key is whether there was any interference".
Citing the rule book again, Iturralde concluded: "That is a textbook move. Interfering is cutting across in his field of vision. Mbappé is not interfering. He doesn't make a challenge for the ball. Interfering isn't allowing the defender to clear the ball. The rules are similar to Civic Code. For it to be ruled offside he has to be interfering with play. If take advantage of a rebound, it's offside but the defender touches the ball while trying to clear it. He effectively helps his opponent".
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