USWNT coach Ellis defends VAR use at World Cup

first_imgU.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has defended officials’ strict interpretation of the penalty encroachment rule, which has come under heavy scrutiny at the World Cup so far.There have already been multiple instances of unsuccessful penalties ordered to be retaken after video review, though the goalkeepers were only inches off their line in some instances.Wednesday night’s dramatic ending to Scotland’s match against Argentina, where Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander saved a late penalty only for it to be retaken, resulted in her side’s elimination from the tournament. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Before that Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider and Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie were similarly punished in games against Italy and France, respectively.In the past, goalkeepers have been given some leeway, but the World Cup has seen unusually strict rulings after VAR reviews.Still, Ellis does not see it as a problem.“Why have a rule if you’re not going to enforce it?” Ellis asked. “If someone’s off their line they’re off their line.”The rule that is being enforced was recently changed and strangely enough, it was actually made more goalkeeper-friendly.The game’s rulemaking body, the International Football Association Board, implemented changes that went into effect on June 1, saying that goalkeepers are now allowed to have one foot off the line when a penalty is taken, as opposed to none before.But that new implementation has resulted in goalkeepers being harshly punished if they stray even inches off their line.IFAB at least seems to have noticed how harsh its punishment has been, having announced on Friday it would not be giving out automatic yellow cards to goalkeepers for encroachment during penalty shootouts in the knockout phase. Still, USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has taken notice of the shift in enforcement.Alyssa Naeher USA USWNT Women's World Cup 2019“They’re calling it very tight,” Naeher said. “I guess we didn’t really know coming into the tournament how tight they were going to call it, and I think the last few games have obviously shown what they can and will call.”Naeher says she’s gone back and reviewed film of her penalty-stopping technique, and has come away satisfied that she won’t be penalized.“I don’t think as of now that I have an issue with it,” Naeher said. “It’s something to keep in the back of my mind but not focus on.”As the World Cup enters the knockout phase, the focus on encroachment is likely to increase, however, with penalty shootouts now a possibility.Ellis, though, is happy to take her chances with VAR, whatever the outcome may be. “A rule is a rule,” Ellis said. “Obviously it’s down to interpretation, but I think overall to sit here as a coach in the biggest tournament in the world … I think there’s too much at stake to not have it in our sport.”last_img read more