France are moving on to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup after defeating Brazil, 2-1, in extra time. Despite scoring a surprise goal against the run of play late in regulation, Brazil’s tired legs eventually caught up to them and it became only a matter of time before France would strike for the game-winner.
But it wouldn’t be a true Women’s World Cup match up if there weren’t some serious VAR bullshit that the game had to deal with. For this match up, the bullshit came about 24 minutes into the game. French forward Valérie Gauvin and Brazilian keeper Bárbara were both jumping towards a 50-50 ball that had been flung into the box. On first glance, it appeared that Gauvin’s momentum won out, which led to the ball trickling into the back of the net for the opening goal. Then VAR happened.
The referee looked at the replay and determined that Bárbara had possession of the ball and Gauvin had knocked it out of her hand, despite the fact that even Dez Bryant would agree that the Brazilian keeper did not have total control of the ball. The universe rebalanced itself in the second half, however, as Gauvin received a great cross from Kadidiatou Diani and slotted the ball past the keeper for an unambiguous score.
Brazil then started picking up the pressure on France. Even though the French still seemed more in control than their opponents, the fight from Brazil just made things feel like an equalizer was coming. It also helped that just moments after France’s opener, Brazil nearly responded with a goal of their own but the shot hit the crossbar.
When Brazil eventually did score equalizing an equalizing goal, it was about to be taken away because a Brazilian player was near the pass, but not the intended target of it, that eventually led to the goal scored by Thaisa. The referee quickly whistled for an offside call, but allowed for the folks in the VAR room to overturn the call and give Brazil the goal.
Brazil even had a chance a few moments later to take the game in regulation, but thanks to a last-ditch effort from Griedge Mbock Bathy, the scoreline stayed level at one goal a piece.
Extra time was a well-earned worst-case scenario for a team like Brazil that has been asking older players to play heavy minutes in this tournament. The tired legs from Brazil’s players seemed almost inevitable as after the first two major attacking pushes, France really began to control the game in extra time. They eventually earned a free kick on the right side of the penalty box after a foul made out of exhaustion was committed. The writing was on the wall for a French base, and they completed it.
The win sees the host nation just one step closer to lifting the World Cup trophy, but they’ll first have to get through the winner of USA-Spain.