France defeated Australia in a tight Group C opener at the Kazan Arena on Saturday, which saw VAR used for the first time in the World Cup.
- France 2 Australia 1
- Tolisso (16′) almost scores own-goal
- Griezmann (56′) converts VAR-awarded penalty
- Jedinak (59′) equalises from the spot
- Pogba (80′) chip secures French victory
Antoine Griezmann scored from the spot and Paul Pogba netted an 80th-minute winner as Les Bleus overcame a dogged Socceroos in the first game of their group.
The Australians levelled through a Mile Jedinak penalty but were punished by a clever Pogba finish with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
Didier Deschamps’ side needed just six minutes to test Mathew Ryan in the Australia goal. Ousmane Dembele headed the ball into the path of Griezmann, who struck a first-time volley straight at the Brighton keeper.
Oz almost took a shock lead 10 minutes later. Aaron Mooy’s delivery from the left was deflected towards his own goal by Corentin Tolisso, but Hugo Lloris was aware of the danger and turned the ball aside for a corner.
After a first half with few clear-cut goal scoring opportunities, the game sprung into life after two penalties in the space of five minutes.
The French needed the Video Assistant Referee’s intervention to award them the first spot-kick after Griezmann went over Josh Risdon’s slide tackle. The Atletico Madrid forward struck the ball into the right corner to open the scoring.
Three minutes later the Socceroos were awarded a spot-kick of their own. Mooy’s free-kick was handled inside the area by Samuel Umtiti. Captain Jedinak calmly slotted the ball home to pull his team level.
Les Bleus went back in front with 10 minutes to go. 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.
Bert Van Marwijk’s men struggled after they conceded the second goal and failed to trouble the French in the closing stages.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 16, 2018