Gary Lineker joked VAR must have awarded Iran a late penalty out of sympathy after being handed a World Cup humiliation by England.
Iran were 6-1 down as the game ticked beyond 100 minutes in the Group B opener. But there was still time for Iran to be awarded a spot-kick out of nowhere.
Referee Raphael Claus was asked to go over to the VAR monitor to review a possible foul on Iran’s Morteza Pouraliganji after England defended a free-kick.
The defender had hit the deck after battling for the ball with John Stones, with replays showing the Manchester City defender had held of the bottom of the Iran star’s shirt.
And after reviewing the footage, the referee pointed to the spot.
Iran’s Mehdi Taremi made no mistake and converted his side’s penalty to secure his second goal of the afternoon.
But ex-England striker Lineker didn’t think the incident warranted a penalty, leading him to joke that VAR probably felt sorry for Iran as they conceded six goals in their opening game.
“It’s the only explanation!” Lineker said when initially suggesting VAR felt sorry for Iran.
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Lineker wasn’t the only England fan left confused by the decision which he deemed to be slightly soft, given Harry Maguire had been denied one in the first half for a heavier challenge.
The Manchester United captain had been grappling to get on the end of a cross when he was manhandled by Rouzbeh Cheshmi, with the Iran star putting his arms round Maguire from behind.
However, despite England’s protests, the incident didn’t even go to review.
Despite the last-minute penalty decision, England go top of Group B, with Wales still to face USA at 7pm – live on talkSPORT.
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