Croatia Coach Zlatko Dalic has hit out at the officials in charge of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final following their decision to award France a controversial penalty in their eventual 4-2 win.
The referee initially decided not to award the spot-kick but overturned that call after consulting video replay, and in Dalic’s view, it was a massive mistake. Per ESPN, he said:
“We played well but the penalty knocked the wind out of us and after that it was very difficult. I just want to say one sentence about that penalty: You don’t give a penalty like that in a World Cup final.
“We wanted to win the World Cup so much but that’s football. The French did not surprise us, we let in two soft goals coupled with an own goal and a penalty.”
The score was 1-1 when Ivan Perisic made contact with the ball with his hand in an unnatural position. The path of the ball was shielded by Samuel Umtiti, however, making it impossible for the Croat to see it or move his hand out of the way in time.
Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana initially opted not to award a penalty, but the VAR officials urged him to have another look. After a lengthy review, he changed his mind, and that did not sit well with plenty of fans and pundits.