France (pictured – Courtesy: @FrenchTeam) played a dull and sluggish game against unfancied Australia despite fielding a young crop of players but Paul Pogba’s late goal came as a face-saver to give them 2-1 win in their Group C opener at Kazan on Saturday.
Although the weekend crowd did not find the match inspiring, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system (pictured: Courtesy: TASS) mused in the second half on two occasions for the first time in World Cup history evoked some interest.
After a barren first half, fortune smiled on France when Antoine Griezmann fell to the ground after being tackled by Josh Risdon inside the penalty area.
At first, Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha did not award a penalty. Then he changed his mind after examining the VAR footage. Griezmann took the kick and gave France 1-0 lead in the 58th minute.
But four minutes later, Australia found the equaliser when the ball hit French back Samuel Umtiti in the arm inside the penalty area.
This time, the referee did not ask for the VAR footage. Australian captain Mile Jedinak made no mistake in sending the ball past French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into the net.
Everyone thought the match was heading for a draw when in the 81th minute, Paul Pogba’s shot bounced over the line off the crossbar.
The referee again asked for the VAR footage and, after examining it, said it was a goal.
VAR system will be used during game-changing situations like a goal or penalty.