'For Me It Was A Penalty' - Griezmann Backs VAR Call

With France's Group C match against Australia deadlocked, Paul Pogba threaded a pinpoint pass to Antoine Griezmann, who went down in the box following Joshua Risdon's challenge.

Referee Andres Cunha had initially called play on when Socceroo Josh Risdon slid in for a tackle and clipped the heel of Griezmann, causing him to tumble, however, when the Video Assistant Referee replayed the move on the big screen, Cunha changed his decision.

Griezmann stepped up to take the penalty, and blasted the ball to the left of goalkeeper, Mathew Ryan, giving France a valuable lead, but it was not to last for long. "I think it's an own goal, but it's the action", Mourinho is quoted by the Metro. "It helped correct a mistake". "I was already thinking about how I would take it".

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak sent his French counterpart Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the spot to give Australia hope of forcing a draw at the Kazan Arena only for Pogba to grab the victor in the 81 minute.

Pogba scored his 10th goal for his country after playing a one-two on the edge of the box with second-half substitute Olivier Giroud and went on to chip Ryan with a cute finish that came off the underside off the bar and just over the line.

"So the follow through on Griezmann I thought was immaterial and in fact so confident I was, I was surprised they went to the VAR so I must have seen it completely differently to everyone else".

"I'm proud but disappointed".

France skipper Didier Deschamps said: "We are very happy to have won as it was a highly hard match".

That was not lost on the match victor who admitted France will have to go up a few gears if they are to trouble the better teams in Russian Federation.

Now, no technology will be fool-proof; there will be problems, issues and irritations, but to not use it when you can make a decision that could completely change the outcome of the game would be pretty stupid, and Federation Internationale de Football Association, thankfully, have taken the smarter route - not often you can say that about them.

They nearly took a shock lead when a free-kick from Aaron Mooy was flicked on by Matthew Leckie which Corentin Tolisso deflected towards his own goal and it was going into the back of the net but for a brilliant save from Hugo Lloris. Surprisingly, the 1998 World Cup-winning captain opted to start with a relatively defensive-minded Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard at the fullback positions ahead of the more attacking Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe.

Just before the hour mark the right back tracked back as French striker Antoine Griezmann chased a through-ball deep into Australian territory.

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

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

Meanwhile, Deschamps has told France they "must do better" after escaping a humiliating draw with Australia in a 2-1 World Cup opener decided by VAR and goalline technology.

With kick off at 8pm AEST, the match played in Kazan made for prime time viewing Down Under with the allure of a World Cup ensuring the Socceroos soared in the tv ratings race.

Vanessa Coleman

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