England face Ukraine on Saturday night, and the last time that happened in a tournament the two teams ended up being the reason for a huge change in the rules.
The two sides meet in the quarter final in Rome this time round but nine years ago they played each other in Ukraine at Euro 2012 in the group stages.
England won the game 1-0, thanks to a Wayne Rooney header, a win that confirmed they finished the group top, but it was so nearly a draw.
Marko Devic thought he’d scored in the second half when his shot looked for sure to have crossed the line, with John Terry making a failed attempt to clear it before the ‘goal’ went in.
Unfortunately for the tournament co-hosts, neither the referee nor the linesman spotted the ball going over the line and so the Three Lions held onto their win.
Of course the game was several years before VAR or goal line technology and so no matter how much the Ukraine players wanted to protest, there was no way they were getting the goal.
There was such an uproar over the controversy that even then FIFA president Sepp Blatter used it to call for the introduction of goal line tech.
Taking to social media at the time, the now disgraced former head of world football tweeted “After last night’s match #GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity.”
|Blatter’s message after the ‘ghost goal’. Image: Twitter|
Blatter had also commented two years previous to the incident, when a lack of technology had cost England during their World Cup second round game with Germany.
Frank Lampard’s shot bounced off the underside of the bar and over the line but once again the officials failed to spot it and Manuel Neuer cleared the ball.
Blatter followed that incident, and the one later in the day that saw Argentina beat Mexico, by saying, “It is obvious that after the experiences so far at this World Cup it would be a nonsense not to reopen the file on goal-line technology.”
The 2014 World Cup was the first international tournament to have the technology that would have helped both England and Ukraine on the two competitions prior.
VAR got a run out at the 2018 World Cup and fans are still far more split over the introduction of the video assistant officials.
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