Sweden’s Kosovari Aslani has criticized the application of video assistant referee (VAR) technology in the European Championship ahead of her team’s semi-final match against England. Sweden has five goals eliminated technology in four games.
“Using 50% fewer cameras in our tournament than in the men’s game, this is really a disaster,” said Aslani. Decisions cannot be made with the same precision. It’s not just for us, but for the other teams as well. There are situations where I think you should have more cameras, and that can be really crucial.”
Sweden’s coach Peter Gerhardson joined Aslani in her criticism with memories of Rebecca Blomqvist’s effort against Switzerland and Stena Blackstein’s goal in their quarter-final win over Belgium sparking frustration. Blackstenius was considered offside but Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson noted that the line had been drawn incorrectly.
“This line is completely wrong,” Ericsson told Swedish newspaper Expressen. “You should draw the line at the penultimate player’s defensive point, but if the ball is in front of that player, the ball’s most offensive point is important. But in this case, the VAR drew the line from the ball’s most defensive point, rather than the penultimate player’s front. But anyway, both are wrong.”
Gerhardsson said: “I think it’s strange. I like VAR technology, and I think it’s fair when they have them, but if we have one game where they make a mistake because they drew the line on the wrong side and now we hear they don’t have the same cameras, for me it’s not Accepted in EUR.
“We didn’t see it ourselves but a Swedish referee at home in a studio indicated that they drew the line incorrectly…You are incompetent at your job. Speaking of cameras, there shouldn’t be a difference whether it’s women’s soccer or men’s soccer.”
The director also criticized the rule that allowed five substitutions but prevented all five from warming up at the same time.
“Now we have five alternatives but you can only warm up three,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a space; why can’t you get five warm-ups? If you don’t put in an excited player, that’s also something I think is weird. Why can’t five people warm up together? They’re friends, I can promise you.”
Sweden’s players are no strangers to the task of trying to upset a host nation. In 2016, they beat Brazil on penalties at the Rio Olympics to advance to the final, where they lost to Germany.
Are they hoping to spoil England’s party? “My favorite question,” Gerhardson said. “I don’t think about it at all because I always think of possibilities, that is my view of everything. If you have a possibility, then you have a feeling in your body that you can do it.”
Aslani said: “It means a lot to the whole team. We play in the semi-finals against the host country, we have done it before against Brazil in the Olympics in an arena three times larger than this. It is a special feeling to go to the stadium with the home fans. We will do everything in We could. I don’t think you could be more excited and ready. We stick to the match plan and I think we’ll have a good chance tomorrow.”
Magda Eriksson, Chelsea captain, said: “I have been really impressed with England so far. This will be the toughest test yet. They are the best team we will face but we are ready for it. This match is what we have been dreaming of – to get to the next stage we will do everything we can.”