Pogba strikes late to give France a 2-1 win over Australia


KAZAN (Russia), June 16: France needed the help of the first World Cup penalty awarded after a video review and a deflected Paul Pogba goal to get their World Cup campaign underway with a 2-1 win over Australia on Saturday.
Striker Antoine Griezmann lashed home the historic spot kick in the 58th minute but Australia hit back with a penalty of their own when Samuel Umtiti inexplicably handled the ball in the box four minutes later.
Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak sent his French counterpart Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the spot to give Australia hope of forcing a draw at the Kazan Arena only for Pogba to grab the winner in the 81st minute.
“The first match is always a big one and we’re very happy to have won today,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.
“It was a difficult match, it was complicated and the Australian team were very good. We were not quick enough in our transition from defence to attack and that favoured Australia.”
Even Pogba’s goal might not have stood in the days before technology was brought into the game with the midfielder’s shot looping off the shin of Aziz Behich, hitting the crossbar and bouncing down inside the goal before coming back out.
Referee Andres Cunha, though, simply checked the goal-line monitor on his watch and pointed to the centre circle as Australia keeper Mat Ryan stood appealing with the ball in his hands.
The Uruguayan official had earlier stood by the side of the pitch to watch the challenge by Josh Risdon on Griezmann on the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor and decided the Australia right back had brought the French striker down in the area. (Agencies)