France 2-1 Australia: VAR to the fore

France stuttered to a 2-1 win over Australia in their opening Group C World Cup clash as the use of video technology came to the fore for the first time in the tournament.

It was a very underwhelming performance by one of the pre-tournament favourites as, apart from the opening eight minutes, France only managed two shots on target, both of which went in.

They began with intent and Australia goalkeeper Ryan was kept busy inside the opening minutes but stood strong.

The Socceroos then almost opened the scoring when Hugo Lloris reacted quickly to prevent Corentin Tolisso scoring an own goal.

France went into their shell and struggled to create opportunities before they were presented with a perfect chance to break the deadlock after the break, courtesy of video technology.

The referee initially played on following Risdon’s challenge on Griezmann before pointing to the penalty spot after being given advice from VAR and watching the replay himself on the pitchside screen.

Griezmann seized the opportunity, smashing the ball into the top corner.

Australia were level four minutes later when Umtiti inexplicably handled a free-kick in the box, allowing Jedinak to calmly roll home.

Despite bringing on Olivier Giroud, France rarely looked capable of breaking down their opponents but there was another unfortunate moment for Australia to come nine minutes from time.

Aziz Behich’s challenge of Pogba was strong and well-timed but the ball looped over Ryan and narrowly crossed the line having bounced down off the underside of the crossbar.

Job done for France but improvement will be required.

CC: Sky