Portugal registered a terrific win against Switzerland with 6 goals to their name in their Round of 16 fixture in the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup.
And yet, as Ramos opened the night of bloodbath against the Swiss, Bernardo Silva refused to join the team celebrating beyond the corner flag and remain standing inside the touchline.
With fans initially speculating about the presence of some internal strife between Silva and the rest of the team, the reason became fairly clear after we dug into history for an explanation for Silva’s refusal to partake in the team’s jubilance, and it’s an amusing one.
In the 2018 Russian FIFA World Cup, there had been two distinct instances where players refused to join the celebrations after scoring goals and one of those instances was, once again, by the Portuguese side.
In 2018, when Portugal valiantly fought to level the scoreboard against Spain, Jose Fonte, playing on the defensive line, refused to partake in the team’s celebration after scoring a goal.
During the same World Cup, England’s Kieran Trippier also created an identical scene in a game where England snatched 3 points from Tunisia.
The reason for all 3 of these instances is, in fact, a shared one. Every player was actually protecting their team and preventing the referee from resuming the game while their team was off the pitch, celebrating. Or so they believed.
Silva, Fonte, and Trippier stayed on the pitch under the presumption that the rules of the game provide for the referee to allow a team to kick off if none of the players of the opposite side are on the pitch.
The fact is, however, quite different from this misconception. A close reading of the International Football Association Board’s Laws leads us to Law 8.1 which says that every player apart from the player kicking off must be present on their side of the field.
For some reason, players have misinterpreted the rule to mean that all players must stay on the pitch at all times, regardless of celebrations, or risk the referee allowing the opposition to kick off after conceding a goal.
It was, however, clarified by an ex-international referee of the game, Joel Quiniou, that there is no such provision in the IFAB rules that prevent teams from celebrating outside the pitch. He did add that players must, however, be mindful of returning to the pitch without wasting too much time.
As that may be, Bernardo Silva, even though acting under a mistaken assumption, does deserve some credit for doing his bit to ensure that nothing was left to chance in Portugal’s resounding victory that pushed them through to the semifinals.
Hopefully, Portugal’s number 20 can partake in the corner-flag team huddle after scoring against Morocco. Given the side’s menacing form, he might just get a chance.