Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

VAR used for first time as France fight past dogged Australia

VAR used for first time as France fight past dogged Australia

Antoine Griezmann scored the first VAR-assisted penalty awarded in the history of the World Cup as title hopefuls France battled to a 2-1 win over gutsy Australia in Kazan yesterday.

If France got a talking to at half-time, it didn't show at the beginning of the second half as they didn't show much improvement until the 58th minute when a great through ball from Pogba found Griezmann through on goal but the striker fell to floor in the box after tackle from Josh Risdon.

Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha initially waved away Griezmann's protests and play went on. until VAR took center stage.

France got their 2018 World Cup campaign off to a positive start as they defeated Australia 2-1, with Manchester United star Paul Pogba netting grabbing the winning goal.

"Maybe he was a little less good", Deschamps told French TV channel TF1.

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"I saw the referee went to review and felt he would give a penalty and so I started to think about how to handle it".

Two penalties in four minutes lit the touchpaper in France and Australia's Group C contest on the first Saturday morning of the World Cup.

"But there was no whistle so I thought about other things. He was standing very close in the moment of the penalty and he directly said, 'No penalty.' He directly said, 'Go on.' It's also a human being, so everybody makes mistakes". I think there were a lot of moments they didn't know what to do anymore. Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe were largely ineffective.

The Australians levelled through a Mile Jedinak penalty but were punished by a clever Pogba finish with just 10 minutes left on the clock. Among the highlights, the youngest player at the tournament, Socceroo Daniel Arzani, made his World Cup debut.

Tough outing: France's N'Golo Kante admitted Australia made life hard for them in Kazan.

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France's play was losing its early intensity, with passes beginning going astray and Australia growing in belief as the half-hour approached. Midfielder Aaron Mooy swung in a risky free-kick which took a nick off Corentin Tolisso and nearly crept into the bottom corner for an own goal. Griezmann converted the resulting penalty, firing to the right corner.

He was played in but the Australian back-line was quick to shift and block the driven shot from the wing-back.

Mbappe won a free kick 25 yards out after a challenge from behind but Paul Pogba's curling effort over the wall was straight to Ryan.

But Australia spent most of the first half defending and ultimately frustrating France, rarely creating real chances of their own.

VAR has been used to varying degrees of success in Serie A and the German Bundesliga, while Federation Internationale de Football Association used the system at the Confederations Cup in Russia previous year. We must do better than that.

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