·27 July 2023
·27 July 2023
A referee at the FIFA Women’s World Cup caused confusion after she initially announced the wrong VAR decision during Spain and Zambia’s match in Group C.
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Jorge Vilda’s side dominated in their second World Cup match in New Zealand, putting five past Zambia and their third-choice goalkeeper, Eunice Sakala.
The 21-year-old was given the chance to make her tournament debut after Catherine Musunda was shown a red card, having received two yellows during Zambia’s 4-0 defeat to Japan last week.
The Copper Queens were relying on Musunda following the news that their number one goalkeeper, Hazel Nali, would be unable to play in the competition after she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Teresa Abelleira put Sakala on edge in the ninth minute as she opened the proceedings, while an assist from Alexia Putellas allowed Jennifer Hermoso to make it two on her 100th appearance for her country.
Super substitute Alba Redondo found home in the 69th minute of the game, while Hermoso scored her 50th goal in the 70th.
However, the 33-year-old’s celebrations were cut short as the offside flag was raised, prompting a VAR check.
After spending a lengthy amount of time deliberating, referee Oh Hyeon-jeong announced that the goal would not stand, seemingly denying Hermosa her milestone moment.
Seconds later though, the South Korean referee backpedalled and announced that the striker’s shot was actually onside and that the scoreline would stand at four goals to Spain.
Boos could be heard echoing around Eden Park, New Zealand, as Oh Hyeon-jeong said: “No goal, no offside” before retracting her statement.
Down the mic, she said: "No, wait... no offside. Goal!”
The Spanish team and the 20,983-strong crowd were left baffled and unsure whether Hermosa’s goal would stand.
However, after some confusion, the striker was able to celebrate her second goal of the evening against The Copper Queens.
Take a look at the chaotic VAR announcement in the video below.
A second VAR check took place in the 85th minute when the offside flag was raised again for Redondo’s second effort.
However, Oh Hyeon-jeong’s second shot at VAR announcing was clear and the goal would be awarded.
Following the match, fans were quick to jump on social media to discuss the VAR mistake and defend the referee for her live blunder.
Journalist Emma Smith said: “The issue Fifa identified with referees’ communication when announcing VAR before #FIFAWW rearing its head in Spain v Zambia. Communicating in a second language is hard enough, let alone over PA while trying to hear instructions in an earpiece.”
Elsewhere, a fan wrote: “The idea of referees announcing the VAR decision is silly, especially for those that are not fluent in English. Everyone understands signs in football. See what happened in Spain vs Zambia.”
Another commented: “Geez, as far as stadium-wide VAR announcements go - that one was a howler just now in the Spain Zambia match. First ‘no goal’, then ‘no offside’, then ‘goal’.”
became the first referee to explain a VAR decision to supporters at a senior level tournament.
She made the call that co-hosts New Zealand would be awarded a penalty after a VAR review showed that there had been a handball in the box.
The method was also trialled at the Men’s Under-20 World Cup and Men’s Club World Cup earlier this year.