VAR penalty and late Paul Pogba goal see France past Australia
France 2 - 1 Australia

VAR penalty and late Paul Pogba goal see France past Australia

16/06/2018

France snatched a 2-1 victory over Australia in a game that saw them awarded the first VAR penalty decision in World Cup history.

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 winner.

France had fashioned the opening chance with two minutes on the clock, Kylian Mbappe bringing a save from Mat Ryan with an angled shot.

With Didier Deschamps' side dominating early on, Mbappe won a free-kick 25 yards out minutes later but Pogba's strike was straight at goalkeeper Ryan.

A third chance in the first six minutes arrived when Griezmann's attempt from the edge of the box following a swift France counter-attack was held by Ryan.

Ryan was again in the right place to claim when an attempted Mbappe cross took a deflection before Australia broke to win a free kick that was whipped in by Aaron Mooy but came to nothing.

Mathew Leckie was booked for a foul on Lucas Hernandez after 12 minutes, but Australia repelled Griezmann's delivery into the box.

But with 17 minutes gone Hugo Lloris prevented Australia from taking a surprise lead, making a fine low save after another Mooy delivery had been deflected towards his own goal by Corentin Tolisso.

France's play was losing its early intensity, with passes beginning going astray and Australia growing in belief as the half-hour approached.

Griezmann was thwarted by a well-timed Trent Sainsbury challenge as France tried to get back on the offensive, and another Sainsbury intervention saw Hernandez thwarted after he had found space on the left.

With five minutes until half-time and the game increasingly scrappy, France were frustrated again as Mooy cleared and then Sainsbury got another touch to divert a dangerous-looking cross away from Griezmann.

Neither coach made a change at the break, but France came out on the front foot -- and they broke through when, after a VAR review, referee Andres Cunha pointed to the spot for a penalty.

The moment came when, after 55 minutes, Pogba played the ball through to Griezmann, who was challenged by Josh Risdon.

Cunha waved play on but, after the review, the penalty was given and blasted home by Griezmann with 58 minutes played, with Risdon was booked.

Four minutes later Australia had a penalty of their own when Samuel Umtiti handled a Mooy cross, Jedinak rolling the ball low beyond Lloris to level after VAR had again been used to confirm the handball.

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.

France coach Didier Deschamps made a double change as Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir came on for Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, Australia replacing Tom Rogic with fellow midfielder Jackson Irvine soon afterwards.

Deschamps made his final switch, Blaise Matuidi on for Tolisso, as the game headed towards a tense last 10 minutes.

And within a minute, his side took the lead when Pogba's effort clipped a defender before bouncing off the bar and in, goalline technology confirming it had crossed the line and another VAR check finding there had been no offside in the build-up.

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.

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