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Nations League final: Why wasn't Kylian Mbappe's goal offside?

Kylian Mbappe
(Image credit: Getty)

France beat Spain in the second-ever Nations League final - but Kylian Mbappe's winning goal is causing controversy. Was it offside?

Anthony Taylor didn't seem to think so. The Premier League referee awarded the goal ten minutes from time, much to the fury of the Spanish. 

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"Mbappe was offside," Busquets told RTVE. "That makes no sense, though. Eric Garcia did what any defender would have done in trying to cut it out."

Why was Kylian Mbappe's offside goal awarded?

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Eric Garcia who broke Spain's offside trap by diving to make contact with the through ball onto Mbappe, according to the referee.

Because Garcia got a touch on the ball, Mbappe was free to run onto the pass and slot it home, since the last touch came off a Spain defender. Taylor judged that this was a "new phase of play" and not simply a deflection.

Had a Spanish player have passed it backwards to Mbappe in an offside position, for example, the goal would still have stood - a lot less controversially. If Garcia had let the ball run past him, Mbappe would have been offside and the goal ruled out. 

The contentious issue of this goal is that Garcia clearly didn't mean to touch the ball onto the onrushing forward - this is exactly what Taylor claimed "reset the play". Was Garcia supposed to not try and get a touch on the ball? Some may argue that surely that defeats the object of defending. 

Spain seem to think so. Taylor was surrounded by La Roja players after the winner was given, arguing the same thing, while Spanish media considered it a "scandal".

This is a decision that will last long in the memory, for the Spanish at least...

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