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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

Video: Japan get massive boost from controversial goal call

Japan controversial goal

Japan were beneficiaries of a huge call in Thursday’s FIFA World Cup match that may wind up having a major impact on who advances from Group E.

Japan entered Thursday’s games knowing that a win against Spain would put them through to the knockout stages. That looked unlikely for much of the first half, however, as Spain took an early 1-0 lead and controlled the majority of the first 45 minutes.

Things changed quickly in the second half, as Japan grabbed a quick equalizer to make it 1-1. In the 51st minute, Japanese midfielder Ao Tanaka headed in from close range to give his team a stunning 2-1 lead. However, the goal was scrutinized and reviewed, as there was some question about whether the ball went out of play prior to the goal. From one replay angle, it certainly looked to have gone out.

Despite this, the goal was given, with officials apparently deciding that replay was not conclusive and to stick with the call on the field.

The rule in this instance is that the entire ball must cross the entire line. The first replay shown appeared to be quite clear, as a bit of green could even be seen between the white of the line and the ball. Even FOX rules analyst Mark Clattenburg, formerly a top English referee, sounded certain that the goal would ultimately be disallowed, which only made the decision to allow it to stand even more surprising.

Japan have had a remarkable World Cup with one big upset to their name already, and luck seemed to be on their side against Spain, too. Perhaps the stars are just aligned for them to put together a memorable run.

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