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The real drama, however, unfolded after the interval with the VAR decision. Nobody expected that we could play like this against France.
Samuel Umtiti was involved in one of the most freakish moments at the World Cup so far in France’s match against Australia.
France were the beneficiaries of the first penalty award by VAR in World Cup history in their Group A opener against Australia – and the drama didn’t stop there. Moments later, the referee was given the opportunity to consult the VAR service, and chose to award a penalty.
Another big VAR talking point is the timing of reviews – how long the delays are.
In any case, France never deserved to take the lead after such an average performance.
Pogba had been unimpressive until the goal, but he set up a 1-2 with substitute Olivier Giroud and beat Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
“We have not done a great game, although they have had only one opportunity which is the penalty we gave them”.
Umtiti made a clumsy mistake when he jumped to clear a ball with both arms raised and touched the ball with his hand to concede a penalty.
After a week of heavy debates over Deschamps’ decision to change his tactics just before this World Cup, all eyes were on France’s front three. He took off his star man Antoine Griezmann in the 70th minute when the game was tied at 1-1. Neither of them had a fixed position. “We want to do better in the next game against Peru which will be tougher”.
But after that, they went quiet.
A sharp first-half save from captain Hugo Lloris prevented Australia from going ahead through a Corentin Tolisso own goal, and the Spurs keeper warned that France must do better.
A stagnate Les Bleus outfit proved a comfortable opponent for the Socceroos in the opening term before the second half was brought to life by the historic intervention of VAR. Australian defender Josh Risdon went for a last-ditch sliding tackle on Antoine Griezmann in the penalty area, and appeared to clip the ball before making slight contact with Griezmann’s ankle. Dembele played a corner and Griezmann played a corner. The gamble paid off, as Giroud had a direct impact by putting Pogba through for France’s victor.
Australia delivered a gritty display that bodes well for its next two matches.
“We had some luck to win but it was very important to start the tournament with a victory”. And with Neymar leaving Barcelona for a world-record fee to join the French giants, skeptics felt Mbappe would be a bit part player. Their discipline and work rate were impressive.
It’s not enough to just have a group of talented individuals on the pitch, they have to be blended together into the right system.
Information from Julien Laurens was used in this report.