Dramatic VAR controversy hands French first goal vs Socceroos


After a balanced first half in the Group C match at the Kazan Arena, France were awarded the first penalty following a VAR review.

"That's disappointing but I think we can be proud with the way we played against one of the best teams in the world".

"From my position, I couldn't see it really well, I thought at first it was no penalty". "I was already thinking about how I would take it".

The VAR almost came into play within minutes of that opening goal, when Samuel Umtiti left his arm up in the air so that the ball would hit his hand, but, this time Cunha, after taking a couple of seconds, awarded Australia the penalty, without the need of technology.

Antoine Griezmann will lead the attack for France against Australia along with Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar out wide.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, still wearing a bandage around a recent head injury, had replaced Griezmann only minutes before playing a one-two with Paul Pogba on the edge of the area.

But Paul Pogba won a tight match for the 1998 champions when his shot bounced over the line off the crossbar in the 81st minute.

Six-cap defender Benjamin Pavard, who has played mostly as a centre back for Bundesliga side Stuttgart, is likely to fill the role on his World Cup debut against a Socceroos side that is something of an unknown quantity under new coach Bert van Marwijk.

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Therefore, at half-time, it was goalless with the Socceroos showing that they were not going to just roll over for France but also Les Bleus really needed to up their game to the level everyone knows that they can in the second half to get off to the flawless start in the group.

Giroud made the decisive pass that led to Pogba's late victor, and Matuidi helped France recover the ball higher on the pitch and accelerate play with his neat one-touch football. On a few times occasion France were left waiting for a ball to be used to the corner.

"That's a big compliment for us". You can interpret decisions.

It was France's custodian Hugo Lloris who was tested most, keeping out a Mooy free kick that French defender Corentin Tolisso nearly deflected into the bottom corner of his own goal.

A World Cup has however ensured football comfortably beat a number of other sports on Saturday night. France had plenty of possession, had a dominant share of possession but struggled to create meaningful chances from open play.

The real drama, however, unfolded after the interval with the VAR decision.

Griezmann's goal was the first in World Cup history to have been aided by the use of VAR, but it will do little to quell the fierce debate about its use. We got ourselves back into the game, we felt good.

"We've got to take the positives, pick ourselves up and go again".