Euro 2024 VAR review: Every decision in Germany analysed

We’re analysing every VAR decision made throughout all 51 games at Euro 2024.

After each game, we take a look at the major incidents to examine and explain the process in terms of VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.

Total overturns: 5
Rejected overturns: 0

Leading to goals: 2
Leading to disallowed goals: 2
Penalties awarded: 1 (0 missed)
~ for holding: 0
~ for handball: 0
Penalties cancelled: 1
Penalty retakes: 0
Rejected penalties: 0
Goals ruled out for offside: 1
Goals after incorrect offside: 1
Goals ruled out for encroachment: 1
Red cards: 1

Possible VAR overturn: Penalty for foul by Christie on Musiala

What happened: Referee Clément Turpin gave the hosts a penalty in the 25th minute for a foul by Ryan Christie on Jamal Musiala on the edge of the box. The VAR, Jérôme Brisard, came into action to check the decision.

VAR decision: Penalty cancelled.

VAR review: It’s the point of contact of the foul that determines where the offence has taken place, so an attacker can have part of their body inside the area and not win a penalty.

While there was also contact by Kieran Tierney on Musiala’s left foot, which was inside the area, the referee had awarded it for Christie’s challenge on the Germany forward’s right foot, which was outside the box.

It was quick and efficient for the VAR to tell Turpin to change his decision to a free kick. The referee didn’t have to go to the monitor for this as it was a factual decision based on position. If the VAR were questioning the foul, that would have been subjective and the referee would have had to make it.

It was also the first time fans in the stadium were provided with the same information offered to broadcasters, with the reason for the VAR decision displayed on the big screen. However, unlike other competitions, UEFA has decided against a referee announcing it over the public address system.

Possible penalty and red card: Foul by Porteous on Gündogan

What happened: The game was in the 42nd minute when, after a scramble just outside the six-yard area, Ryan Porteous attempted to close down Ílkay Gündogan before he could shoot. Porteous clattered into the Germany captain, but referee Turpin waved away the penalty claims. As soon as the ball went out, it became clear Gündogan required treatment, and the VAR began a check.

VAR decision: Penalty, scored by Kai Havertz, and red card for Porteous.

VAR review: Before the tournament began, referees’ chief Roberto Rosetti said he expected a zero tolerance approach to challenges of this nature, which should be judged as serious foul play.

This is one of the more extreme examples, as Porteous was off the floor with both feet and caught Gündogan above the ankle.

Any tackle where a player is sliding, diving or leaping in and makes contact above the boot is likely to result in a VAR review if the referee hasn’t made the correct decision to show a red card on the field.

This is something of a double whammy for Turpin, of course, as he failed to identify the foul for the penalty, let alone the red card.

Possible offside: Füllkrug before scoring

What happened: Niclas Füllkrug added a fifth goal for Germany in the 76th minute when firing home from close range after a cross by Thomas Müller. But a VAR check was needed.

VAR decision: Offside.

VAR review: It was our first taste of semiautomated offside at Euro 2024, and it was a quick and seamless process. However, this was a clear offside involving two players stood close to each other. We are sure to see other decisions that take longer with this new offside technology, which will be introduced into the Premier League next season.

Indeed, the check on Scotland‘s consolation goal in the 87th minute, when Antonio Rüdiger diverted the ball into his own net, took much longer. The connected ball technology can tell the VAR when the ball has been played, and whether another player if offside, yet it cannot detect which player has played the ball. So, when the ball was headed on, coincidentally, by Germany’s Füllkrug in a defensive position, Scotland’s Lawrence Shankland was offside but not interfering with play. So, the VAR has to check there is no offside offence against the player highlighted by the technology.

Possible onside: Duah when scoring

What happened: Kwadwo Duah thought he had given Switzerland the lead in the 12th minute, running through the middle to score from Michel Aebischer‘s pass. However, the assistant raised his flag for offside as soon as the ball hit the back of the net.

VAR decision: Goal

VAR review: After semiautomated offside was used to disallow Germany’s goal against Scotland, this time it corrected an error to disallow one as Hungary defender Milos Kerkez was behind Duah.

It took 55 seconds from the moment the ball hit the back of the net to the referee signalling the goal. That seems quite long, as Duah appeared to be clearly onside from the first replay. But this technology is still in its infancy, and a VAR is not going to immediately trust it if no offside has been detected. In these early stages, at least, every decision has to be verified — although it’s much quicker as the VAR has no manual role in determining the positions of the players relative to each other.

Possible red card: Rodri challenge on Petkovic

What happened: Croatia were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute when Rodri fouled Bruno Petkovic, who seemed certain to score. Referee Michael Oliver showed the Spain player a yellow card with the VAR, Stuart Attwell, checking both the spot kick and a possible red card.

VAR decision: Penalty stands, Petkovic effort saved by Unai Simón.

VAR review: Rodri’s tackle feels like one that should result in a red card, and it certainly has in past seasons. Yet the IFAB, football’s lawmakers, have a dislike for a red card where a player has made a normal football action in relation to an opponent. So much so that last year the law for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) was relaxed further.

It now says that where a defending player denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by committing an offence which was an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball” inside the penalty area then it should be treated as unsporting behaviour and the player only booked.

It means that pretty much any challenge with the feet inside the box will now be considered unsporting behaviour, rather than DOGSO.

A player having “no possibility to play the ball” still exists in law, but it would have to be exceptionally cynical to qualify for a red card, which is essentially reserved for “holding, pulling, pushing.”

Two seasons ago this would be a red card, now it’s not so clear cut.

You could also argue the penalty itself was soft, as Petkovic went down theatrically, but once given it won’t be overturned.

Possible encroachment: Perisic on Petkovic goal

What happened: Petkovic stepped up to take the penalty, but it was saved by goalkeeper Simón. The loose ball ran for Ivan Perisic, who squared for Petkovic to tap home at the second attempt. While the players celebrated, Attwell checked for encroachment.

VAR decision: Goal disallowed.

VAR review: While the goalkeeper was stepping forward, he had one foot level with the goal line, so it was a legal save.

Perisic, however, was encroaching — which is penalised by the VAR if it has a material impact on the outcome. As Perisic created the goal for Petkovic, it’s clear he did.

Then it’s a question of the restart, and the discipline of all the Spain players is key.

If only the attacking team is encroaching, the restart is an indirect free kick to Spain.

Yet if players from both teams are encroaching, the penalty would be retaken. But all the Spain players held their line on the edge of the box.

Perisic was one of two Croatia players inside the area at the time the penalty was struck, so there’s no retake and Spain get the free kick.