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Russia 2018: Pogba helps France beat Australia

18 June 2018
Russia 2018: Pogba helps France beat Australia

The first goal came in controversial circumstances, as Antoine Griezmann, streaking through on goal, went down following a challenge by Josh Risdon.

With a surprising level of comfort for long periods too.

Australia coach Bert van Marwijk expressed his disappointment after the match. Though denied a penalty by the referee, France became the first team at the World Cup to be awarded a penalty after intervention from the VAR. Griezmann, who had barely had a say in the match, made no mistake from the spot. No one expected we could play like this against France.

Tough outing: France's N'Golo Kante admitted Australia made life hard for them in Kazan.

To date, SBS's coverage of Russian Federation 2018, including live matches (RUS v KSA, POR v ESP, FRA v AUS), match replays, pre- and post-match analysis and daily highlights program, FIFA World Cup Today, has reached a total of 4.3 million Australians.

With captain Mile Jedinak likely to return in midfield alongside Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic, the core of the side is looking strong.

France swarmed around the Australian goal but couldn't get near the Australian box as Griezmann tested Ryan with a drive from outside of the box.

In the 30th minute, Risdon took the ball away from Griezmann's foot at a crucial moment after the Atletico Madrid player brought it down with a fine control, preventing him from unleashing from close range.

"When the referee went to see the video, I thought it was a penalty".

He rewatched the tackle on a pitch-side monitor before walking back on to the pitch and pointing to the spot.

Mooy's free-kick was handled inside the area by Samuel Umtiti. "A lucky goal", van Marwijk said.

"It wasn't a great match for the team or for me, but the important thing is to start with a victory", he said. We were not quick enough and this favoured Australia. That's how it is, so you have to get used to it. It means Australia enters Thursday's game against Denmark with a hill to climb if its to progress past the group stage.

Everyone inside the stadium had a good look at the penalty shout. I can not blame any of my players.

"I hoped that maybe one time there will be a referee very honest".

For France coach Didier Deschamps, there were - not surprisingly - no complaints: "I'm not going to complain about the use of video today, because it went in our favour". We lacked a fair bit of pace in how we moved the ball around and how we got forward when we pinched it, and this played into Australia's hands.

"So I don't know". But it's very hard.

Now, no technology will be fool-proof; there will be problems, issues and irritations, but to not use it when you can make a decision that could completely change the outcome of the game would be pretty stupid, and Federation Internationale de Football Association, thankfully, have taken the smarter route - not often you can say that about them.