Confusion as Ecuador's opening goal at World Cup ruled out for offside by Var

Confusion as Ecuador's opening goal at World Cup ruled out for offside by Var - BBC
Confusion as Ecuador's opening goal at World Cup ruled out for offside by Var - BBC

The opening goal of the 2022 World Cup took just two minutes 38 seconds to arrive - only for Ecuador’s opener against hosts Qatar to be ruled out in bizarre circumstances.

Ecuador forward Enner Valencia brought a sudden silence to home fans inside the Al Bayt Stadium when the former West Ham striker found the back of the net in only the third minute, to the jubilation of the healthy number of Ecuador supporters in the stands.

But referee Daniele Orsato was quickly holding his earpiece in a stance that Premier League fans will be all too familiar with, with boos and jeers greeting the first interference of the Video Assistant Referee at this year’s World Cup.

Orsato was consulted for a lengthy period of time, but without any detail being passed on to either those watching in Qatar or fans back home on their sofas.

And some two minutes after the goal was scored, Orsato chalked it off for an apparent offside - leaving just about everyone dumbstruck over how the decision had been made when no replays had been viewed, nor Var graphics deployed as is usual in the Premier League.

Eventually, the 3D Var graphic appeared to put everyone out of their misery. It confirmed that as the free-kick was floated into the box, both Felix Torres and Michael Estrada competed for the header against Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.

Felix Torres and Michael Estrada compete for the header against Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb - BBC
Felix Torres and Michael Estrada compete for the header against Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb - BBC

Torres appears to get his head to the ball ahead of Al Sheeb, and deflects it upwards, and crucially, slightly forwards. As the ball comes back down and bounces off the turf without anyone getting a touch, Estrada reacts fastest and heads the ball back into the back of Torres.

Torres appears to get his head to the ball ahead of Al Sheeb, and deflects it upwards, and crucially, slightly forwards - BBC
Torres appears to get his head to the ball ahead of Al Sheeb, and deflects it upwards, and crucially, slightly forwards - BBC

Torres volleys the ball with a bicycle kick into the path of Valencia...

Torres volleys the ball with a bicycle kick into the path of Valencia - BBC
Torres volleys the ball with a bicycle kick into the path of Valencia - BBC

... and Valencia gets in front of his man and scores from a clearly onside position.

Valenica scores with a header from an onside position - BBC
Valenica scores with a header from an onside position - BBC

But the crucial detail comes all the way back in the first phase, when Estrada’s foot can just be seen to be in front of the offside line as Torres goes up to head the initial free-kick.

 Estrada’s foot can just be seen to be in front of the offside line as Torres goes up to head the initial free-kick - BBC
Estrada’s foot can just be seen to be in front of the offside line as Torres goes up to head the initial free-kick - BBC