England v Haiti: Lionesses group D opener dominated by VAR as Georgia Stanway gives England slender lead

The Lionesses group D and World Cup opener has so far been dominated by VAR with penalty drama as Georgia Stanway scores from the spot

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Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) has so far dominated England’s group D opener against Haiti. Three reviews were had before the 30 minute mark, as a new way of utilising VAR has been used at the tournament.

The first decision was made fairly early on in the game for a potential penalty to England. A foul earlier in the build-up by an England player meant the penalty wasn’t given, with the referee announcing the decision to the crowd, in a new method being used with VAR.

Then two quick successive VAR reviews were made. A corner swung in was checked by a possible handball with the referee announcing a penalty to England. Georgia Stanway stepped up and it was saved by the Haitian ‘keeper.

The drama wasn’t over there, though, as a review was made again, with the Haitian goalkeeper off her line, meaning the penalty was retaken. Stanway stepped up again and put England 1-0 up.

Still very much in an experimental phase, the new VAR method has received mixed responses. One viewer said: “I love it, it gives the crowd more clarity on why the decision was given. All pro soccer leagues need to adopt this.”

Some were more critical than others, with one fan saying: “Completely pointless if no explanation is given.” Another shared the same opinion, saying: “Insignificant if the reasons are not explained.”

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