FIFA releases video to validate Japan's controversial winner against Spain

Japan's Kaoru Mitoma in action as the ball appears to cross the line before Japan's Ao Tanaka scores their second goal against Spain. Photo: Reuters/Jennifer Lorenzini

FIFA on Friday released a video to prove Japan's contentious winner against Spain was legitimate. Kaoru Mitoma's cutback for Ao Tanaka to give Japan a 2-1 victory had meant end of the road for Germany.

TV visuals, pictures and screenshots swamped the internet apparently showing clear green grass between the ball and the line before winger Mitoma was able to play it back to his teammate.

The goal had initially been ruled out by the referee who thought the ball had gone out of play, but the official reversed his decision after a lengthy VAR consultation.

Now, FIFA, the world football body, has put out a video replay of the events aiming to prove that a part of the ball was indeed inside the field of play. The laws require part of the ball to be on the line to remain in play

Retired Spanish referee Iturralde Gonzalez had said such incidents were not always clear to the naked eye and expressed his full confidence in FIFA's technology. "It is a matter of perspective, making the images very tricky. The perspective that is clear is from above, and the belly of the ball is very big," he said.

"If there's a little of it inside the pitch, it's in play. Everyone can take and use the photo they want, it doesn't matter, but the ball didn't go out."
(With agency inputs)

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