Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk says there is still plenty of tinkering to be done with video assistant referees in football. (AAP: Brendan Esposito)
Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk is not thinking about how he would react if Australia conceded the type of controversial goal the Newcastle Jets did in the A-League grand final, but he might have suggested a way to at least tinker with video reviews.
- Bert van Marwijk cautions against football becoming solely reliant on video tech
- Socceroos coach suggests teams should have options to consult VAR when contentious decisions are made
- Dutchman wants to increase the odds of Socceroos pulling off a shock result against France in WC opener
Saturday night’s A-League grand final was marred by a video assistant referee (VAR) controversy, with the system suffering a glitch in the build-up to champions Melbourne Victory’s goal in the ninth minute, later revealed to be offside.
The FFA said the VAR system went down at the crucial moment, meaning the goal that proved to be the grand final winner could not be overturned in time, leaving Jets fans to stew over what could have been.
Van Marwijk, who named Australia’s preliminary 32-man squad for the FIFA World Cup, was in attendance at the grand final, and would not be drawn on how he would react if the national team copped a VAR failure in the showpiece event in Russia in June.
But he has suggested a potential refinement to the system, where teams — like in cricket’s decision review system (DRS) — would have a number of nominated opportunities to consult the VAR for certain decisions.
“I was there [at the grand final], I saw the goal but I didn’t really see it very well from my position. Later on I heard it was offside,” he said at his press conference.
“Maybe you can think about giving both teams one or two, maybe three possibilities to ask the video ref.
“Maybe that’s better and more honest? Because now every body is depending on what the referee thinks and sees.”
Controversies over VAR dogged the A-League throughout the 2017-18 season, and van Marwijk cautioned against an over-reliance on video technology in the round ball game.
“It’s very difficult, a video referee. I understand that you try to change football, the rules, to make it better, but we have to keep the charming things of football,” he said.
“You also must have the situation that you have to shout about things happening, and that people are talking about situations in the cafes, and journalists are discussing things. We must not have a situation that you cannot discuss anything any more.
“But I understand that you have to change things. A camera on the goal, I understand that. A video referee, I understand that.
“But I already saw games of video referees that nobody knew something and suddenly a referee whistles, maybe 30 seconds, one minute after a situation … then he whistled again, then he goes to the side, takes minutes, doesn’t really know, gets information, comes back, everybody in the stadium doesn’t really know what happens.
“It has to be [done] quicker, faster, to take decisions. It’s a difficult thing.
“Now the referee decides on behalf of what he sees, or what he hears. I’m going to watch the video. In tennis it’s different, the players themselves can decide when you ask the video ref.
“I understand that there will be a change and also at the [World Cup], but I don’t think that we don’t discuss any more situations when we have a video referee.”
But he prefers to focus entirely on what he can control against the likes of France, Denmark and Peru in the World Cup group stages, rather than technology controversies.
“I don’t think about those things, because I cannot change that. I hope I explained what I think about the VAR, but I prefer to think about how we want to play in our training and preparation,” he said.
“The team is more important for me.”
Trying to better the odds against mighty France
Australia’s first match sees it take on France, one of the tournament favourites, on June 16.
Bert van Marwijk wants to increase the odds of Australia pulling off an unlikely upset against France in Russia. (Reuters: Siphiwe Sibeko)
Each of Australia’s previous World Cup outings since 2006 has seen it take on at least one tournament big gun — 2006 saw a 2-0 loss to Brazil, before a 2010 walloping at the hands of Germany. In 2014’s group of death, there were three losses to Chile, the Netherlands and Spain.
A loss similar to that dished out by Germany in 2010 would severely damage Australia’s hopes in a difficult group in Russia, and France — currently ranked seventh in FIFA’s world rankings but with sensational depth in every position — could be primed to hand out similar punishment.
But not if van Marwijk has anything to do with it.
“I only think about the first game, that’s for me the most important,” he said.
“I already told the players, I don’t want to hear anything about the other games. I don’t want to here anything about what’s happening after. I concentrate on the first game.
“France is one of the best teams in the world, maybe the best. They have the big chance to become world champions.
“Normally under normal circumstances, when you play 10 times against France, maybe you lose nine, nine-and-a-half times. I want to create a situation that is not nine … it’s maybe six or seven. And then you have a chance.
“You always have a chance. I am not the type who is thinking of what’s happening afterwards. Only the first game.”
Socceroos’ 32-man preliminary squad
- Brad Jones (Feyenoord), Mitch Langerak (Nagoya Grampus), Mat Ryan (Brighton), Danny Vukovic (Genk)
- Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F Marinos), Alex Gersbach (Lens), Matthew Jurman (Suwon Bluewings), Fran Karacic (NK Lokomotiva), James Meredith (Millwall), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (Grasshoppers), Aleksandar Susnjar (FK Mlada Boleslav), Bailey Wright (Bristol City)
- Josh Brillante (Sydney FC), Jackson Irvine (Hull City), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), Robbie Kruse (Bochum), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Mark Milligan (Al Ahli), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Tom Rogic (Celtic), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)
- Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City), Tim Cahill (Millwall), Apostolos Giannou (AEK Larnaca), Tomi Juric (FC Luzern), Matthew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Jamie MacLaren (Hibernian), Andrew Nabbout (Urawa Red Diamonds), Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa)