The meeting between Belgium and Canada was marked by several fatal arbitration errors for the Canadians.
If the controversies have not been lacking since the start of the World Cup, arbitration has so far escaped criticism. The XXL additional times added by the referees did not fail to astonish but the officials are only applying the injunctions of the leaders of Fifa, Gianni Infantino in the lead. The match between Belgium and Canada on Wednesday gave rise to the first real referee controversy.
After having, thanks to the intervention of the VAR, logically awarded a penalty to the Canadians in the 9th minute following a handball by Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, the Zambian Janny Sikazwe made a first gross error a few minutes later by not whistling a another foul by the Red Devils in the area, this time committed by Jan Vertonghen on Tajon Buchanan. The Zambian referee preferred to signal an offside which had no reason to be since it was Eden Hazard, missing a back pass, who had put the Canadians back into play.
Canada should have had a second penalty
Speaking to Fox Sports, former referee Mark Clattenburg was formal: “It was human error by VAR and Canada should have had a second penalty”, he assured. And the Canadians could have it all the worse as shortly before the break, Axel Vitsel put down Richie Laryea, which could have been worth a penalty there too. But once again, the VAR did not flinch.
These errors will not improve Janny Sikazwe’s rating. The Zambian had gone down in history during the last CAN during the Tunisia-Mali match. He had indeed whistled the end of the match in the 85th minute before realizing his mistake but had finally sent the two teams to the locker room in the 89th minute, angering the Tunisians. In his defense, Janny Sikazwe had claimed sunstroke.