By 90Min
June 20, 2018

Kyle Walker has said England players have been left confused over when to ask for VAR to be used during this World Cup, following their opening game against Tunisia.

Walker was penalised in the 2-1 win for a foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, with the VAR check upholding Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan's decision.

However, VAR was not consulted on two occasions when Harry Kane was brought down in the box in off-the-ball incidents, both of which looked like potential penalties on the TV replays.

All 32 participating teams were provided with guidelines by FIFA prior to the tournament on how the VAR system would be operating at this World Cup.

Strict warnings that grappling at set-pieces would be punished were also issued, though there has already been clear inconsistencies in this between games - with penalties awarded in some matches, and in others clear incidents going unpunished.

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Walker told The Telegraph that England's players were unsure to appeal for VAR following the Kane incident because of the threat of being booked - two yellow cards results in a suspension in the tournament.

He told the Telegraph: “We’ve had a briefing, but what’s correct and what’s not? When do you ask for it? You don’t want to crowd the referee and say ‘VAR’ because then it is a yellow card.

“I think you just have to let the referees get on with it and let them take the decisions. They have got a hard enough game as it is without putting any more confusion in it.”

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Players are not supposed to crowd the referee or appeal for VAR to be used, though some players have done without reprimand in the tournament already.

During their 3-1 loss to Russia, Egypt's Amr Warda was seen making clear gestures to the referee and assistant to check the VAR system over a penalty claim. The winger did not get booked for his protests.

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England manager Gareth Southgate expressed his frustration about the inconsistency of the VAR system: “I think my observation would be that if it's a penalty at one end, it has to be a penalty at the other. That needs some review, I would say.

“We have to abide by it and leave it to the powers that be, but it's clear that if a foul is given against Kyle Walker then it has to be given for Harry being hauled to the ground.”

Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

Walker was not convinced that the penalty awarded against him would typically have been considered a foul, but accepted he must take the incident on the chin and move on.

He said: "Would it have been given in the Premier League? Probably not. In the World Cup it is probably a penalty."

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“It is one of those things that I am going to have to take on the chin. It is a learning curve for me. Next time I will probably head it away and ask questions afterwards!”

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