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Technology the enemy as France edges past Australia

18 June 2018

Video Assistant Referee was used in the World Cup for the first time as France edged past a resilient Australia 2-1 in Kazan on Saturday.

Antoine Griezmann went down after a tackle in the penalty box in the second half of the Group C fixture.

Earlier, it was a awful lack of concentration from Samuel Umtiti in the 60th minute that saw Australia's captain Mile Jedinak scoring the equaliser from the penalty spot for the Socceroos. "We gave a very good performance".

"For me, it was a penalty", Griezmann, named man of the match, said afterwards.

France went into this tournament as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy, but they have much to do if they hope to go far in this tournament.

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"But there was no whistle so I thought about other things". A lot of moments they didn't know what to do any more.

In a tight first half that saw Griezmann, teenager Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele fail to spark, it was the yellow-clad Aussie fans who have invaded the Tatar capital who had most to cheer about.

The Socceroos showed maturity beyond their footballing years to hold their own against the billion-dollar Les Bleus but a controversial 58th minute penalty and an unfortunately deflected shot ultimately felled the Australians at Kazan Arena. However, it would be a shame if the flight of the ball, or the fact that similar goals have gone over the line and then back out again, which have not been given at World Cups in the past, remain the focus. He was pleased with his players' effort and said the French "didn't know what to do anymore in big parts of the game".

But Paul Pogba scored the victor for France late on, leaving the Socceroos frustrated and needing a result against Denmark in Samara on Thursday to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the knockout rounds.

But Australia soon settled and could well have taken the lead, Leckie's flick-on header from an Aaron Mooy free-kick producing a smart save from France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

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It was French keeper 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.

Flamengo forward Guerrero had a 14-month ban for testing positive for cocaine overturned just weeks before the tournament began and celebrated by scoring twice in a friendly against Saudi Arabia.

It was imperative Australia played with a solid foundation at the back, particularly in the opening exchanges of the game.

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 must do better than that.

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Technology the enemy as France edges past Australia