Kirby hopes players won’t try to fool the VAR

The England women’s national team striker believes players will not deliberately search for penalties awarded using the VAR.

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is being used in the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time.

But the system can be played by deliberately looking to hit her rivals on the hand or arm.

“I don’t feel in that moment you are thinking, ‘I’m going to cross it and hit her hand’,” Kirby told The Telegraph.

“I am thinking, ‘Lucy Bronze is in the box, I want it to hit her head’.”

“My cross was intended to get onto the head of one of our players so that she might score,” she told about her assistant against Scotland.

“No one really appealed for it apart from myself – and then I let it go. I just thought, ‘It’s not going to get given’.”

“We understand that this is the way that the game is going and we need to focus on that and being in the right frame of mind,” she said.

“Straight away, when I saw it was going to VAR, I knew it was going to be a penalty, so I went up to Nikita and said, ‘Make sure you’re ready’.”

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“It was a conversation I had to get her ready, knowing she was stepping up,” she continued.

“A few of the girls didn’t know what was going on, but I knew. She could get herself composed.”

“You know these decisions are being made. We’ve watched it in the men’s game, we know how it goes,” Kirby continued.

“More importantly, we talk about what’s going wrong in the game. If it is stopped, we use it more as a tactical break just to work out what we can put right or where we are going wrong.”

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