World Cup 2018: Pogba scores the winner as France beat Australia

World Cup 2018: Pogba scores the winner as France beat Australia
By Euronews
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Paul Pogba scores the winner as France beat Australia 2-1.


Paul Pogba's late effort proved the winner for France as they edged a determined Australia in their World Cup opener.

His 80th-minute effort was adjudged to have crossed the line without the referee needing to consult television replays.

VAR had been used to award France a penalty earlier in the second half, won and converted by Antoine Griezmann.

But minutes later Australia were level after Jedinak converted a spot kick awarded after French defender Umtiti's handball.

Five takeaways from France vs Australia

An underwhelming performance: France are one of the favourites for the World Cup this year but this performance didn't show that. The French started well but dropped off and it would appear their system did not work. Didier Deschamps may need to look at dropping some star players for the sake of the team as they struggled to make any impact on Australia. Yes, France came away with the victory and that is the most important thing, but the performance won't be putting fear into their rivals.

**History with VAR: **This game will go down in history as the first World Cup game to have a penalty awarded through VAR. As Antoine Griezmann entered the box a slide tackle from Risdon came in and although it looked like he may have got the tiniest touch on the ball he brought Griezmann down on the follow through. Initially the game carried on but after hearing from the VAR officials the on-pitch referee went to his pitchside monitor, checked and then gave a controversial penalty.

Australia won't go down without a fight: Australia may have lost this game but they put in a great performance and worked extremely hard. Only a VAR-awarded penalty and a deflected goal cost them. We can see Australia are not going to lie down and lose easily and other teams will be wary seeing that they pushed one of the tournament favourites all the way.

Giroud to start? In the build-up to the game the big talking point was which players would lead the line for France. Deschamps chose to go with a front three of Dembélé, Mbappe and Griezmann, but they clearly struggled to make an impact. In the second half Giroud was brought on for Griezmann and he linked up with Pogba in the build-up to the second goal. Although his impact was limited, France were better in the second half and that will put pressure on Deschamps and his decision for the next game.

**Umtiti's handball: **Samuel Umtiti is undoubtedly a great footballer, but even great footballers have moments of madness and Umtiti had one in this game. The ball was crossed in from a free-kick and Umtiti could not reach it with his head, so he decided to use his hand, he reached up and almost punched the ball out of the air, gifting Australia a penalty. We can only assume he thought there was an Australian player waiting to score behind him but even so it was a crazy decision. It may not have cost France today but it could have done and it will most definitely play on Umtiti's mind.

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