Argentina’s penalty kick against Croatia in the first half of their World Cup semifinal match was a bad call, according to all three members of the ITV Sports punditry panel.
After his attack partner Julian Alvarez collided with Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic inside the penalty area, Lionel Messi did not waste the opportunity to score the game’s first goal with a lethal left-footed finish from the spot. Messi scored the goal, becoming Argentina’s leading World Cup scorer at all times.
Alvarez made a goal-bound break and floated the ball over Livakovic, who stopped moving in his tracks. After the goalkeeper and Manchester City striker clashed, the referee pointed to the place where the penalty should have been awarded.
In contrast, the ITV commentary team, which included Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Ian Wright, and former Manchester United captain, all believed that Croatia had been handled unfairly and that the penalty decision was incorrect.
Neville replied, “No, there shouldn’t have been a penalty, not at all,” at the start of the ITV panel debate.
Alvarez simply runs into the goalkeeper and pulls his leg away as the goalkeeper simply makes a movement to his right and stops himself before the shot is actually taken. Although we are directly above it, this viewpoint looks farther away.
This is not being punished. What else might he do? He has to plant his feet in order to attempt to save the ball. I’m not sure if there is a punishment because he stops before it; if he had continued running out and killed Alvarez, that would have been OK.
Wright concurred with Neville’s assessment and continued, “When you look at it, the center forward, he’s actually mis-kicked it to be honest.” Wright was a former forward for Arsenal. The goalkeeper is rendered helpless if he hits it and it enters the goal because, as you say, he is halted.
When Alvarez miskicks the ball and it misses the goal, the goalkeeper is forced to stand his ground and runs into him. I don’t understand why the referee didn’t look.
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The unanimous decision among the panelists was brought to an end by Keane’s statement. Poor defending overall to allow him to get a shot off, but I concur with the boys that I don’t think it’s a penalty because there’s nothing else for you to go, he said.
In order to clarify why the referees had made the decision to award a penalty, referee analyst Peter Walton was brought in at this time. He gave an explanation of how they had arrived at the right decision. When Walton described the rules to Wright, his response was “wow…wow.”
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What do you think about Argentina receiving a half-penalty kick in the opening period of the semifinal game against Croatia? Was the choice made fairly? Comment below with your thoughts and let us know what you think.