World Cup 2022: Why was Ecuador's opening goal of the tournament ruled out?

Ecuador's opening goal of World Cup 2022
(Image credit: BBC One)

World Cup 2022 has started with VAR drama within the first five minutes, with Ecuador denied a goal by the video officials. 

Former West Ham and Everton man Enner Valencia thought that he had scored the first goal of the tournament, with Qatar's goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb at sixes and sevens with a clearance before the ball was scissor-kicked back into the melee. 

The goal was overturned by technology, however – but there was no reason immediately obvious for the decision. 

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It appeared that the goal was fully onside, thanks to the Qatari defence dropping so far back that there were players on the line. There was no offside either from the original pass, at least on first view. BBC co-commentator Dion Dublin speculated that there could have been a high foot in the build-up.

After 13 minutes, there was a replay that appeared to show that Valencia's knee was offside when the ball was whipped into the area. The competition this year has integrated semi-automated technology for offsides. 

"They'll always find a way!" Dublin laughed, before adding "Not knocking it, I'm just saying!"

World Cup 2022

The decision to give Ecuador's opening goal as offside is explained by tecnhology  (Image credit: BBC Sport)

After 14 minutes, goalkeeper Al-Sheeb gave away a penalty for a foul on Enner Valencia. Valencia, who had thought he had opened the scoring within five minutes but for a change of decision, did so from the penalty spot to break the record for the most goals scored at World Cups by Ecuadorians. 

Valencia's celebration was extremely muted in both cases, with the striker slotting the ball away from 12 yards to send the Qatar keeper the wrong way. 

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