Late Pogba goal gives France victory over Australia after VAR controversy

Late Pogba goal gives France victory over Australia after VAR controversy

Uruguayan referee Andrés Cunha awarded Les Bleus a penalty when Antoine Griezmann was brought down by Josh Risdon's tackle, but only after originally overlooking the decision and consulting the VAR after the phase of play had finished.

"It's a good job there was video in this case", Griezmann told beIN Sport TV.

"I did get a touch on it [Pogba's goal]".

For long periods, France looked devoid of ideas and struggled to break down a hard-working and well-organized Australia side who were happy to keep most of their players behind the ball.

And they looked on course to hold one of the pre-tournament favourites until Pogba's lobbed effort deflected off Australia full-back Aziz Behich and the crossbar to fall inches over the goal-line.

There were also no surprises in Bert van Marwijk's Australia lineup, which tried to meet France with a classic 4-4-2 plan, staying solid in the rear while waiting for some miracle from star Aussie forward Andrew Nabbout.

France's talent will be enough to get them through their group and may even carry them to the quarter-finals, but their lack of cohesion is a big problem and one that may be hard to resolve before the end of the tournament.

The narrative of the game was altered by technology, and it would have played out very differently 20 years ago, leading to plenty of discussion online as to whether modern technology in the game is a good thing or a bad thing for the sport. A lot of moments they didn't know what to do any more.

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"We want to start knocking off one of these big fish". "If you lose because of a penalty you can talk about it. then (they scored) a lucky goal just before the end".

After the equalizer, both sides became much more physical as they anxiously searched for the victor.

His fellow superstar Messi, with whom he has monopolised the world player of the year award for a decade, is under vast pressure to secure his first major worldwide trophy and make amends for Argentina's painful loss to Germany in the 2014 final.

Aaron Mooy's free-kick into the box was inadvertently prodded towards his own goal by Corentin Tolisso, but his blushes were spared by captain Hugo Lloris who made brilliant, low save.

Le Blues dominated the opening exchanges in the first, while the likes of Mbappe and Pogba tested goalkeeper Matt Ryan in the first 10 minutes.

Before Griezmann's feat, Mbappe had made history at kick-off by becoming the youngest French player, at 19 and six months, to start a World Cup game.

Australia delivered a gritty display that bodes well for its next two matches. Former England striker and pundit Gary Lineker added: "The fact that opinion is divided on the Griezmann VAR penalty decision suggests that even if it probably was a penalty, the decision should not have been changed".

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