Why Kylian Mbappe’s “offside” goal, winner of the Nations League for France against Spain, was allowed
France became the first nation in history to win the UEFA World Cup, European Championship and League of Nations by winning Sunday’s final 2-1 over Spain thanks to the game-winning goal of Kylian Mbappe (broadcast the replay on ESPN + in the US).
Blues were forced to return after Mikel Oyarzabal gave Spain the lead shortly after the hour mark at the San Siro in Milan. The lead lasted two minutes before Karim Benzema equalized for France with an exceptional effort from a distance, floating a deft 20-yard strike over Unai Simon and into the far corner.
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This was how things went until the 80th minute, when Mbappe broke behind the Spanish defense to slip a low finish in front of Simon and scored what turned out to be the winner.
The goal turned out to be controversial, as Mbappe appeared to be offside by a few steps when Theo Hernandez put it through on goal. However, after the goal was reviewed by VAR, referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to allow him to stay, sparking heated protests from Spain.
Taylor felt that Spain’s defender Eric Garcia had stretched out a leg to deliberately touch the ball on his way to Mbappe, making everything after that point into a new phase of play. In short, Mbappe was in the game and the goal was perfectly legitimate. .
That hasn’t stopped viewers from calling the play on social media, with many unable to figure out how the Paris Saint-Germain star fared.
How am I going to tell my kids that Mane has been declared offside but Mbappe has been declared offside? pic.twitter.com/P48NSwK0NU
– Daniel van Buyten (@DanielVanBuytem) 10 October 2021
VAR checks to see if Mbappe’s goal was offside pic.twitter.com/dLorkCVVkh
– CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) 10 October 2021
So how the hell did Mbappe come to be deemed okay? When Hernandez passed the ball to Mbappe, the forward was definitely offside, ahead of Spain’s center-back Garcia. However, the offside law only defines the position of players in relation to each other when Hernandez passes the ball. Mbappe only becomes active for offside when he gets involved in the game or challenges an opponent.
Garcia stretched for the ball in a desperate attempt to prevent it from passing to Mbappe. This is classified as a deliberate ball game, and it resets the offside phase and plays Mbappe in play. Because Mbappe was not close to Garcia, and as such had no direct influence on him. Failed interception of the defender, he is not considered to challenge the defender.
The oddity is that if Garcia had completely missed the ball, Mbappe would be offside. But Garcia made contact, so the PSG striker is in the game and he did the rest.
French sports newspaper The team chose not to mention the VAR incident on its front page at all, instead announcing the national team and their continued success.
However, the Spanish media began to Sports Journal using his title to denounce the “injustice” of it all.
There were scenes similar to Marca, who splashed an image of Mbappe’s position on the front page exclaiming: “They’re ruining football.”
Mundo Deportivo called on VAR to “beat him” while calling attention to the daylight between Mbappe and Garcia as the assist was played.
COPE radio presenter Manolo Lama was one of many Spanish media figures who expressed their disgust at the incident.
“According to referee Taylor, Eric García tried to play the ball”, Lama tweeted. “Conclusion: The referee has NO BLOODY IDEA ABOUT FOOTBALL.”
Según el árbitro Taylor as soon as Eric García trata de jugará el balón.
Conclusión el árbitro no tiene NI PUÑETERA IDEA DE FÚTBOL pic.twitter.com/HfAHuBLib2
– Manolo Lama (@lamacope) 10 October 2021
As you can imagine, the “El ChiringuitoThe studio exploded into a vigorous and enthusiastic debate over VAR and whether the system’s implementation is ‘anti-football’.
A quick check in to see how El Chiringuito is dealing with Mbappé’s offside decision …
– El Chiringuito in English (@ElChiringuitoEN) 10 October 2021
Presenter “El Chiringuito” Josep pedrerol also tweeted his personal thoughts on the matter: “Injustice, period.”
Injusticia y punto
– Josep Pedrerol (@jpedrerol) 10 October 2021
Onda Cero radio station was positively shaking with anger following the final, with journalist and contributor Cayetano Ros saying Mbappe’s goal “goes against the essence of football”. Ros also called the 2021 Nations League final result “the biggest scandal in football history since the 1966 World Cup“.
Moreover, Onda Cero presenter Eduardo García added that Mbappe’s goal was “one of VAR’s most shameful moments. It was the most colossal mistake since VAR arrived.”
Somewhere else, Diario AS decided to throw a veil on how Spain were beaten and instead focus on the promising performances of Luis Enrique’s young side in the Nations League, declaring on the front page: “No title but a Bright future”.
AS columnist Tomas Roncero didn’t quite follow suit, writing: “We find ourselves without the League of Nations because of an absurd decision, an absurd VAR. Don’t tell me about Eric García touching the ball or not Mbappe is offside This is an invalid goal.
“We are back in the days when Spain was treated like a joke. It is inexplicable that with VAR you win a trophy with an offside, even though my beloved Mbappe scored. They swindled Spain outside the League of Nations. “
For what it’s worth, Spain captain Sergio Busquets was a bit more magnanimous in the loss, praising France for their performance and congratulating Didier Deschamps’ side on their victory at the final whistle. However, the Barcelona veteran has always openly questioned the decision to let Mbappe’s winning goal hold.
“It’s a shame,” Busquets said. “I think we did enough not to lose, but in two similar moves we conceded, even though the goals were different. The second one, for us on the pitch, felt like an offside.
“Mbappe was in an offside position, the referee said Eric is going to play the ball, and that means it’s not offside. It doesn’t make sense to us. You have to try to playing the ball, Eric tried to cut the pass like any defender, he was not lacking in control. “
He is certainly right, but unfortunately for Busquets and the rest of the wider Spanish football community, the letter of the law remains firm.