Football fans have reacted furiously to Cristiano Ronaldo being spared a red card after an off the ball clash with Iran’s Morteza Pouraliganji, in which the Portugal captain appeared to strike the player.
Paraguayan referee Enrique Cáceres consulted VAR after a clash between the two left Pouraliganji in a heap, but eventually brandished only a yellow card, saving the Portugal skipper from an early bath.
Predictably, social media users were keen to have their say on the matter, with some saying the referee had "bottled" dismissing the player.
Iran 🇮🇷 should be in the last 16... they gave it everything and should be proud of their World Cup⚽️ The referee bottled sending Ronaldo off👎What courage what a game 👏👏👏 Well done Iran 🇮🇷The best fans at the World Cup deserved more👏👏— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) June 25, 2018
Anyone other than Ronaldo would’ve walked for violent conduct but FIFA’s VAR turns a blind eye.— Jim Beglin (@jimbeglin) June 25, 2018
Ok, bad use of VAR there on Ronaldo... that’s a Red card. Star power wins again #POR— Stu Holden (@stuholden) June 25, 2018
Anyone other than Ronaldo, Messi, Mother Theresa or Meryl Streep and that is a RED CARD— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 25, 2018
Yellow card??? Ronaldo punched him in the face, that's definitely a red card in the books.— Mexican Rug Dealer (@MikeElChingon) June 25, 2018
Elbowing to the face away from the ball is an automatic red card. Unless your name rhymes with Ronaldo.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) June 25, 2018
And - yeah - that Ronaldo incident is a red card for a less famous player.— Seb Stafford-Bloor (@SebSB) June 25, 2018
Others chose to troll the current world's best player for his earlier penalty miss, that spot kick too coming as a result of a VAR consultation after the player was brought down just inside the box.
Ronaldo misses a penalty. He’s no Harry Kane is he? 😉— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 25, 2018
Messi and Ronaldo now both missed penalties at the World Cup. It’s almost as if you can’t use penalties as a measurement of how good a player is or not.— Xav Salazar (@XavsFutbol) June 25, 2018
Ronaldo stayed on the pitch as Portugal were pegged back by a late penalty as they were on the wrong end of a VAR decision in the final moments of the game due to a dubious handball decision.
Karim Ansarifard netted from the spot to cancel out a Ricardo Quaresma opener, which meant that Portugal finished in second place, as Spain pulled off a dramatic 2-2 draw in Group B's other game to advance from top spot by virtue of a better goal difference. They will now play hosts Russia at Luzhniki Stadium.