Lionel Messi and Argentina’s World Cup will continue following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Nigeria in their final group stage clash on Tuesday. But it could all have gone very differently, had referee Cuneyt Cakir not handed the Argentines a favorable decision with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
After having already given away the penalty that allowed Nigeria to equalize, Argentina was fortunate to not give away a second penalty when Marcos Rojo appeared to handle the ball in the box.
Seriously, check it out.
Untung wasit bilang gak aktif. “Ball to hand bukan hand to ball,” Oke sihap jantungan fans argentina ini pasti pic.twitter.com/9lxp6po1gj
— Abe (@AbeHedly) June 26, 2018
Yes, that’s right, the ball clearly came off the player’s head and onto his extended arm while he was defending in the penalty box. In the face of pleas from incensed Nigeria players, the referee took the decision to VAR.
But after a brief pause for the video review, the decision was made not to award the penalty.
Did Argentina get away with one? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time, considering Argentina’s most famous World Cup moment to date remains Diego Maradona’s infamous “hand of God” handball against England in 1986.
Rojo’s play was also remarkably similar to one that resulted in Iran being awarded a penalty against Portugal on Monday, a penalty that the Iranians converted.
Conspiracy theorists may cry foul, but Argentina will move on nonetheless. Thanks to Rojo.
Not only was he fortunate that the ref was unmoved by Nigeria’s pleas and what he saw on the video monitor, but a few minutes later, he netted the goal that punched Argentina’s ticket to the knockout stages.
MARCOS ROJO PUTS ARGENTINA AHEAD! pic.twitter.com/3yrzeq7hSu
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 26, 2018
More World Cup on Yahoo Sports:
• Uruguay storms to Group A win by dismantling Russia
• Egyptian goalkeeper sets record as oldest player to feature in World Cup
• Ronaldo pleads with noisy Iranian fans to let him sleep (video)
• Denmark fined by FIFA over sexist banner, fan behavior
• Report: Salah mulling quitting Egypt national team over controversial photo