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Video assistant referees are an imperfect but important solution

Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes discuss the notion that VAR delays will become a nuisance during matches.
Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes discuss the notion that VAR delays will become a nuisance during matches.
Antoine Griezmann thought he'd had the opener for France, but the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled the goal was offside.
International Friendly: Gerard Deulofeu (77'), France 0-2 Spain
Two of the biggest football countries were on display but it was Video Replay Technology that starred, disallowing one goal and overruling a linesman on another.
Didier Deschamps admits to being surprised by how well Spain performed in beating his France side.

When France hosted Spain in a friendly on Tuesday night, the match offered the first "official" example of a video assistant referee (VAR) in a high-profile international. (The first instance was back at the FIFA Club World Cup in December ... and the first "unofficial" instance was probably this, even though we may never know for sure.)

VAR proponents could not have hoped for a better outcome.

Simply put, without VAR, this game would have finished in a 1-1 draw. Instead, Spain won 2-0. You don't...

England try to find a "Plan B," Cristiano Ronaldo's latest goals, Mbappe's future

Shaka Hislop talks which of England's strikers will most likely feature in the 2018 World Cup next summer.

The fact that Gareth Southgate switched to a back three in Thursday's 1-0 friendly defeat to Germany only to go back to a 4-2-3-1 in the qualifier against Lithuania on Sunday was read in different ways. He said it was a function of needing to figure out different formations to suit different opponents. It's an interesting take and somewhat different from his predecessors, most of whom believed that the best way to build chemistry was to play the same way each time.

The problem with England having...

Here's how to end the international break and keep clubs, countries happy

Could 2017 summer transfer window be the 'summer of strikers', with several high-profile names potentially moving clubs?
Max Bretos chats with the man behind the ICC tournament, while the FC crew preview the best match-ups to expect this summer.
As Lionel Messi and Argentina embark on another international break, it's high time to end the current setup.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a conversation I had with Carlo Ancelotti during which (unsurprisingly, given he's a football manager) he complained about the time coaches actually get with players and, specifically, the scheduling of international breaks.

Indeed, having the squad go off for 10 days in September, October and November, just as the season is getting underway, is both a buzzkill and a hurdle. It's a perpetual club vs. country tug-of-war, and FIFA inevitably gets caught in the middle.

These...

Why was Pep Guardiola so happy with Man City's draw? Plus: Real win ugly

The FC crew reflect on Man City's frantic 1-1 draw with Liverpool and analyse Pep Guardiola's post-match comments.

Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Liverpool was hailed as a great advertisement for the Premier League. It was breathless; it was end-to-end and it featured tons of chances and incidents. It also saw a horrific number of individual errors -- referee Michael Oliver, regarding James Milner on Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure on Emre Can, wasn't immune either -- and two badly exposed back fours.

To some, it was a very "English" game in the sense that it conformed to a certain set of stereotypes: high...

Leicester's elimination of Sevilla can be read through many different lenses

Leicester City got their goals and snuffed out Sevilla's attack in dramatic fashion as the England champions move on to the quarterfinals.
BT Sport highlight: Leicester City managed to secure a place into the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Craig Burley and Alejandro Moreno discuss Jamie Vardy against Sevilla and the changing narrative to Leicester City.
The FC panel celebrate Leicester City's improbable win but can't shake the bitter taste left by Claudio Ranieri's sacking.
Leicester's players have praised the impact of Craig Shakespeare after reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Leicester City celebrates on the pitch after beating Sevilla as former teammate N'Golo Kante looks on!

Another Champions League night, another comeback.

Except Leicester's elimination of Sevilla stands apart because it can be read through so many lenses. Shall we start with the Scrooge-like "bah, humbug!" interpretation?

In that view, this isn't a surprise. After all, Leicester have a higher wage bill, and their net spending in the past four transfer windows is around $70.2 million. Sevilla, on the other hand, had a net transfer savings of $42.7m. That's a swing of more than $100 million.

There's...

Barcelona back to earth, Sanchez saga, Ramos rescues again, Dortmund slump

Alejandro Moreno cites an emotional letdown from Barcelona against Deportivo coming off their stunning win over PSG.

And, just like that, Barcelona crash back to earth, talk of another Treble seems ludicrous and Luis Enrique goes back to being a dolt. At least in the eyes of the overreaction professionals.

Barcelona's 2-1 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna, who went into the match one place above the relegation zone in La Liga, can be attributed to many factors, some of which are more credible than others.

You need to start by giving credit to Pepe Mel, who in eight previous meetings with Barcelona, had collected a...