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EURO 2024

What does the wave graphic on the TV mean during a VAR review at Euro 2024?

During Belgium - Slovakia, Lukaku’s goal was disallowed for handball by Openda. Here’s how the technology warns the referee.

During Belgium - Slovakia, Lukaku’s goal was disallowed for handball by Openda. Here’s how the technology warns the referee.

Slovakia shocked Group E at Euro 2024 with their 0-1 win over Belgium. The team led by Francesco Calzona took the lead in the 7th minute thanks to a goal from Ivan Schranz and then held firm in the face of constant attacks from the ‘Red Devils’ to give us our first big upset of the tournament.

The Belgians had chances to equalize or even turn the match around, but Romelu Lukaku was left ruing two goals disallowed thanks to the intervention of VAR. Technology had a direct impact on the decisions of the Turkish referee Umut Meller and, ultimately, on the outcome of the match.

First, Lukaku stroked home a ball into an empty net. However, the goal was ruled out because, at the start of the move, the Roma striker had strayed offside. In the final minutes of the match, the striker again beat Dúbravka, this time from a decent ball from Loïs Openda. The Belgian joy, however, was short lived, after Meller went to consult the VAR monitor to check whether the Leipzig player had touched the ball with his hand, the referee ruling he had. It was a touch so subtle though that the video referee was warned of it thanks to the technology with which the Fussballliebe, the official ball of the Euro Cup, is equipped.

Openda touches the ball with his hand
Full screen
Openda touches the ball with his hand

The Fussballliebe has a number of different sensors, making it a smart ball. These not only provide semi-automatic offside rulings, but also send information in real time to the VAR referee of each match. The objective: reduce waiting times to promote the fluidity of the game and be able to capture much more than the human eye can see.

Belgium’s second disallowed goal was a perfect example of the capacity of the Fussballliebe’s sensors - it was able to discern Openda’s very light touch with his hand. The television broadcast of the tournament showed the contact in the form of a wave graph indicating the exact point hand and ball made contact. The image, which fascinated viewers, was a replica of what Meler was seeing on his monitor. It was an example of how the latest technology is an integral part of Euro 2024, and can play a vital role in refereeing decisions.