A World Cup VAR-ce; Kildare and GAA in Mexican stand-off
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was not impressed with the VAR on Monday night. Photograph: Getty Images
VAR dominated last night’s final round of Group B matches as Spain and Portugal both progressed to the knockout stages of the World Cup. Keith Duggan was at the Kaliningrad Stadium as a late Iago Aspas goal - confirmed by VAR in a chaotic finale - rescued a draw for Spain as Morocco “shook them to the core”. They top the group ahead of Portugal who were held (1-1) by Iran. Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty and avoided a red card after two lengthy VAR delays, while the new system also awarded Iran a controversial penalty to equalise late on. Today Group C and D will be decided, with the day’s big match being the clash between Argentina and Nigeria. Lionel Messi’s team must win to qualify.
The GAA and Kildare look set for a Mexican stand-off over the venue for Saturday’s qualifier against Mayo. Kildare were drawn out as the home team, but the fixture was moved from Newbridge to Croke Park due to capacity concerns. Kildare say they’ll be togged in St Conleth’s Park, the GAA say a no-show will result in a win for Mayo. Watch this space! In his column this morning, Jim McGuinness explains how pace, aggression and tactical acumen were the common themes for Dublin, Kerry and Donegal over the weekend. He writes, what all three have in common is; “the aggression with which all three push up on the kick-out, which has been widely noted in recent times, and the pace with which they move the ball either with hand or foot.”