Japan defeated both Germany and Spain in the “Group of Death” in the FIFA World Cup, winning the group and moving on to the Round of 16.
Due to a greater goal differential, Spain advanced as the runners-up whereas the 2014 winners were eliminated. But there was some dispute around Japan’s 2-1 victory over Spain.
Their second goal has caused a stir on social media, with many arguing that the VAR erred in allowing it because it eliminated the Germans.
Tanaka scored the winner with a Kaoru Mitoma assist. The last shot was uncontested, however, there was some debate regarding how Mitoma got the ball close to the touchline and then delivered it to his teammate.
The semi-assisted offside technology used in World Cup matches allows referees to make judgements like these. The decision for the current game’s point of dispute was that the ball may not have crossed the touchline.
This decision was significant, and Twitter did not take it lightly.
A large part of the Twitter audience was Spanish users concerned with how unfair the whole situation was. They provided clear-cut evidence that the ball was over the line and absolutely ignored anyone saying otherwise. Despite several videos showing how it was on the line, they did not relent.
Another part of the crowd was the one with the jokes. One of those really stood out and is probably the most perfect meme for the scenario.
For anyone unfamiliar with the context of this joke, this is what is known as a CAPTCHA.
Websites use a CAPTCHA test to distinguish between real people and automated users. The test consists of two straightforward components: a text box with a series of letters or numbers that are created at random and appear as warped images, or a whole image like the one you can see above.
To pass the test and verify your human identity, just write the characters shown in the picture into the text box or choose the images as per the instructions shown.
It is a long-standing joke that CAPTCHA tests are becoming so hard that humans end up failing them too. For example, a large portion of users fails to understand which of these boxes actually classify as a traffic signal.
A direct parallel can be drawn to the goal scored by Japan. Is the ball actually over the line? Should I select the box? Am I overthinking? If I fail, am I a bot??
Analysis does show that the ball 1.88mm away from being over the line. Talk about fine margins!
In Group E, this second goal for Japan had a significant impact. Despite defeating Costa Rica 4-2 in a wild game, Germany was unable to advance to the Round of 16. By winning Group E, Japan secured their place in the knockout rounds.
The World Cup is supposedly won by razor-thin margins, and there may be none greater, or rather, thinner, than this.