Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann Lead France Past Australia in 2018 World Cup

16 June, 2018, 17:59 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Nabbout is in contention to start up front for Australia. Pic GettyMore

Striker Antoine Griezmann lashed home the historic spot kick in the 58th minute but Australia hit back with a penalty of their own when Samuel Umtiti inexplicably handled the ball in the box four minutes later.

Until France broke the deadlock it had been a tight game with Australia matching the World No.7 ranked team in all areas across the park. It was soon clear that there was not going to be a repeat of the 6-0 drubbiing they had received the last time the two sides met.

When Antoine Griezmann went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Josh Risdon it was the first time in global football the Video Assistant Referee was used to determine a decision.

France's forward Antoine Griezmann (second right) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a penalty during their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group C match against Australia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16, 2018.

Les Bleus went back in front with 10 minutes to go.

Risdon appeared to clip the ball and, as such, the referee didn't give an initial penalty, deeming Griezmann to have gone down too easily.

Bert Van Marwijk's men struggled after they conceded the second goal and failed to trouble the French in the closing stages.

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Unfortunately all the efforts were undone when the victor came in the 81st minute.

Although all of the defining moments came in the second half, the first half had also been a good contest. Ousmane Dembele headed the ball into the path of Griezmann, who struck a first-time volley straight at the Brighton keeper.

France's youthful attack ensured they had the better of the opening half of the match but Australia had the best chance before the break when a deflection off Frenchman Corentin Tolisso from an Aaron Mooy free kick was well saved by Lloris.

That was the closest that Australia came to scoring in open play but their efforts in this match will be recognised around the world.

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.

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.

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