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World Cup

16th Jun 2018

WATCH: History made as VAR used to give France a (controversial?) penalty

Should this have been given?

Simon Lloyd

France had to work for their opening goal of the World Cup in Kazan

Australia had frustrated Les Bleus for nearly an hour of their Group C game, with goalscoring opportunities limited.

Their opener eventually arrived from a controversially awarded penalty from Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid player had won the spot-kick, although French appeals were initially waved away by the referee when he was brought down by a last-ditch challenge from Josh Risdon. After consulting VAR, the Uruguayan official changed his mind.

In scoring the penalty, Griezmann became responsible for the first ever World Cup goal to have been scored as a result of VAR intervention.

The decision itself, however, still seemed a controversial one. Many watching felt replays showed that Risdon did get the faintest of touches on the ball. More importantly, many claimed they also showed the Australian defender initially made no contact at all with Griezmann, only clipping his heel after his heavy first touch had appeared to take the ball away from him.

As it went, Australia weren’t behind for long. Minutes later, they drew level through a penalty of their own – Samuel Umtiti with a bizarre handball gifting Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak the chance to level things up.

Some would say justice had been done, for a short while at least. France reclaimed the lead in fortuitous circumstances later on, a deflection off Aziz Behich taking Paul Pogba’s touch over the line via the underside of the Australian crossbar.