Monday, 22 April, 2019

Griezmann hits historic VAR penalty as France squeeze past Australia

Cunha referee VAR France Australia Andres Cunha gives the penalty to France after using VARShaun Botterill Getty Images
Charles Bowen | 17 June, 2018, 09:39

I think we played a great game.

However, the breakthrough finally came 10 minutes into the second half when Griezmann forced the referee's hand by striding into the Aussie box and plummeting to the ground.

The Socceroos captain - who was in doubt to start - sent Lloris the wrong way from the penalty spot to delight the significant Australian contingent in the Kazan crowd.

Antoine Griezmann converted to give them the lead after a goalless first half, but Mile Jedinak struck from the spot to equalise minutes later before Paul Pogba's deflected strike hit the bar and bounced in for a late victor.

Tomi Juric replaced fellow forward Andrew Nabbout as Australia made a change and, buoyed by the equaliser, they threatened again as a good move involving Mooy resulted in a cross that France blocked.

Teenager Daniel Arzani came on for Robbie Kruse as Australia chased another equaliser, but they were unable to conjure another goal as France held firm for five minutes of added time.

France's forward Olivier Giroud (C) vies for the ball with Australia's defender Trent Sainsbury (R) during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group C football match between France and Australia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16, 2018.

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"We showed guts and we showed that we could be ourselves ... it gives us confidence", he told reporters.

France are hoping to join tournament favourites Brazil, Germany and Spain in the latter stages as they look to make amends for losing the Euro 2016 final to Portugal.

Indeed, the first half proved to be largely barren, as Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele found themselves restricted to sporadic pot-shots and craven attempts to coax freekicks in advanced positions. Aaron Mooy's delivery from the left was deflected towards his own goal by Corentin Tolisso, but Hugo Lloris was aware of the danger and turned the ball aside for a corner.

The result makes it hard for Australia to get out of the group stage, with matches to come against Denmark on Thursday and Peru the following Tuesday. The Atletico Madrid striker had no problems from the spot, leaving Mat Ryan with no chance after slamming the ball into the top corner.

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.

Although hailing the "guts" of his Socceroos side, Van Marwijk - who coached the Dutch to the 2010 World Cup final - could not hide his disappointment with Cunha.

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

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