I have received a number of questions about the goal by Navas versus Croatia, all wanting to know why Navas was not called offside. The questions provide a variety of information that could be applied to the matter, but the answer is much simpler.
The questions (abridged where necessary):
Q1. the eventual goal scorer, in my view, clearly “gained an advantage from being in an offside position”; but I note the “interpretation” of the rules assigns a meaning to that phrase which may explain this not being offside. That said, the “interpretation” refers to a ball hitting the post and coming to the player who was in offside position which seems ridiculously narrow.
Q2. [The goal] was offside because he came from an offside position when Iniesta passed the ball to him. When I read the rule there is nothing written but there is a part said gaining adantage of being offside where FIFA states:
“Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means:
Playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or crossbar, having previously been in an offside position.
Playing a ball, that rebounds to him off an opponent, having previously been in an offside position.
This is for a rebound ball where states him PREVIOUSLY being in an offside position, Wouldnt be the same a pass for teammate to him (NAVAS) previously being in an offside position??
But after I investigated some more I found a FIFA sketch where if player B get the ball being onside he can pass the ball to player C behind his ball line even though playec C was passive and never change that position from the time player B got the ball to the time player B pass the ball to C offside when player B got the ball first time. So my question isnt this a contradiction on the previous explanation by fifa saying that a player being previously offiside can get a ball rebound or anything like it??
Q3. During the Euro 2012 game between Spain and Croatia, much controversy has been generated with the allegedly offside goal by Spain. Although Navas is not directly involved in play, he ends up being involved once Iniesta passes him the ball and all the defenders have stopped their pursuit, waiting for the offside call by the officials.
Is there a moment in which the initial offside is nullified whether by a touch by a defender, a back pass to a teammate, etc.?
[And the questioner points out this interesting article on propsals to update the Laws, including offside: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/fifa-to-look-at-changes-to-offside-rule-2375801.html#disqus_thread ]
Answer (June 20, 2012):
Navas’s goal was legally scored. He was in an offside position when the ball was first passed to Iniesta, who started from an onside position. Navas was not called for offside at that moment because he was not actively involved in play in any of the three meanings defined by the International Football Association Board: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage from being in that position. Navas remained in that position to show his lack of involvement as Iniesta moved forward. Navas became onside as soon as Iniesta took possession of the ball and moved nearer to the goal. Iniesta then passed the ball to Navas. By the time Iniesta passed the ball to Navas the latter was no longer in an offside position — never having moved or interfered with play or with an opponent (no one even looked at him) — and could not be called offside because he was level with the ball at the pass.
I might add that the television commentators, generally the least knowledgable observers of soccer at any level of play, got it right this time and never said a word about any offside.