The video assistant referee (VAR) system, which is being deployed in Russia for the first time in World Cup history, featured in three key moments during Monday's dramatic clash between Portugal and Iran.
Referee Enrique Caceres stopped the game three times for VAR reviews, awarding one penalty to each side. Although the VAR system got the first decision correct when the referee awarded Portugal a penalty after Ronaldo was fouled in the box, Iran's VAR-assisted injury-time spot kick seemed a harsh decision to some.
Another controversial episode took place when Cristiano Ronaldo elbowed Morteza Pouraliganji. While Iran's players called on the referee to send off Portugal's superstar, Ronaldo got away with just a yellow after Enrique Caceres consulted a pitchside monitor.
Some users believe Ronaldo didn't even deserve a yellow.
CR7 should not been giving any red card, just 5 mins before one of the Iran players were holding him down by his legs. Nothing was giving, not even a free kick. Portugal was robbed 1st placed and the Referee was weak, Egypt federation are putting a formal complaint against him.— Patricia Rodrigues (@MrsPRodrigues) 26 июня 2018 г.
Shouldn't even be a card— Ty (@TyJMaine) 26 июня 2018 г.
It was barely a yellow, let alone a red— Eribert Volaj (@VolajEribert) 26 июня 2018 г.
This opinion, however, doesn't seem somewhat unanimous.
Well, that was a penalty, similarly to the other one the referee decided not to review. Now, not giving Ronaldo the red card — kicking an Iranian player without a ball on the face and behind the cameras — that is outrageous.— Fernanda Gándara (@fer_gandara_a) 25 июня 2018 г.
Just be happy the ref was scared of sending off ronaldo after the var check and just gave him a yellow. Classic fifa.— Stephen Dedalus (@iStephenDedalus) 25 июня 2018 г.
The ref lost his bottle. If you aren't going to give a red for violent conduct looked at by VAR, then there is no point in having the it. If that had been the other way around, Ronaldo would have rolled around and not got up until the ref gave a red.— Mark Cowley (@engmarkinus) 26 июня 2018 г.
Others argued that Ronaldo's side deserved a more severe punishment.
I can't comprehend how VAR thought that was a penalty. What are the two penalties that Iran were denied agains Portugal today?— N (@lead4kryptonite) 26 июня 2018 г.
the ref was portugese.he video checked everything portugal asked and more!he didnt give iran the penalties he owed them.this game was pathetic to watch.— lost princess kimia (@kawaieyes) 25 июня 2018 г.
In another Group B game between Spain and Morocco, Gerard Pique escaped a red card for his two-footed challenge on Morocco's Boutaib.
Some embarrassed fans took to Twitter to slam what they called a "disgrace."
That's a disgrace. For Pique to not even get booked for a two-footed challenge with both feet off the floor at the point of contact is bizarre.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) 25 июня 2018 г.
obviously VAR doesn't apply to Spain.— David Simpson (@DASimmo) 25 июня 2018 г.
It is used selectively. To ensure certain outcomes.— Diba Diba (@DDiba75) 25 июня 2018 г.