It's been 20 days since the Women's World Cup kicked off. 20 short, short days in which we've seen records shattered, new laws applied, upsets, people being upset, penalties, penalties, VAR, penalties, VAR and VAR again.
The tournament is reaching its final stages, down to just the eight elite teams who'll fight it out to hold the world championship belt (it's a belt, right?) for the next four years. This is where the finest margins separate the best sides, where the smallest decisions could be the difference between glory and four years in the wilderness.
Hell, there are still Olympic places up for grabs.
Getting refereeing decisions right is more important than ever, when matches – futures, careers – can hinge on a single decision. This is why VAR was brought into football, to get these decisions right and to make sure the human error of a non-player doesn't make the difference. It's the perfect system.
Which, obviously, is why this has been one of the most controversial World Cups ever on the refereeing side, with more penalties awarded already than any Women's World Cup in history. And we haven't even kicked off the quarter-finals yet.
Pierluigi Collina came out this week in his role as
Big difference between level of VAR involvement in 2018 men's World Cup and other recent tournaments, including 2019 women's World Cup. This would seem to be part of the problem (VAR over-involvement), but FIFA's Pierluigi Collina says it is actually an advance. pic.twitter.com/Syzqm8fb9i— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 26, 2019
What They've Said
"I genuinely cannot understand what's going on in this tournament," Casey Stoney, Manchester United Women's manager.
"There have been some strange situations of course...
"There was just a miscarriage of justice. Why should I talk about anything else. A game and a sport and the referee made a lot of mistakes,"
"We were prepared for Cameroon to be really physical, but it seems like the ref in our game was a little lenient...
Alex Morgan wasn’t happy with Spain’s ‘reckless’ tackling - and what Vicky Losada (who went off after 30 minutes with a black eye after getting kneed in the face) thoughthttps://t.co/zzikG4nzXr— Chris Deeley FORGOTTEN NATIONS OUT NOW (@ThatChris1209) June 24, 2019
"Ultimately we've got to get on with it, whether it's right or wrong it's the rule. Maybe everyone at the World Cup should stop moaning about it, because it's not going to change," Phil Neville, England coach.