England’s World Cup last 16 clash with Colombia in Moscow threatened to descend into chaos in the closing stages of the first half.
The match has been decidedly light on goalmouth action, with only one shot on target each in the opening 45 minutes, but the biggest incident so far was one that left one set of fans demanding a red card for the offender.
With England’s Kieran Trippier lining up to take a free kick on the penalty area, the referee was alerted to a bit of commotion in the box. Upon viewing the replay, it emerged that Colombia midfielder Wilmar Barrios had headbutted Jordan Henderson into the chest and chin, leading to an altercation between players from both sides:
The official, after consulting with the VAR, deemed it necessary to hand Barrios a yellow card – though many were amazed that the punishment was not more severe…
Yellow card for a headbutt. You have to be kidding.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 3, 2018
Surely had to be a red card. Barrios head-butted Henderson
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) July 3, 2018
How the hell is that not a red ?
— Lynsey Hipgrave (@lynseyhipgrave1) July 3, 2018
VAR doesn’t resolve situation where referees seem unclear of how to referee. Barrios only booked by American referee Geiger for headbutt in penalty area
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) July 3, 2018
However, others noticed that, despite the obvious headbutt, Henderson went down rather easily in the challenge…
If Henderson was Neymar everyone would slaughter him for that?♂️??♂️
— Karl Sheppard (@karlsheppard9) July 3, 2018
I am guessing that Henderson’s reaction would have been criticised quite a lot more if the butt was on the other foot, as it were.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) July 3, 2018
— Rupert Fryer (@Rupert_Fryer) July 3, 2018
At half time, it remains 0-0 in Moscow, with a place in the last eight against Sweden on offer for the eventual winner.