Fifa Dance 2018.
Kazan: Antoine Griezmann scored from the first VAR-assisted penalty awarded in the history of the World Cup as title hopefuls France battled to a 2-1 win over gutsy Australia in Kazan on Saturday.
Griezmann, expected to make a huge impact on Russia 2018 after topping the Euro 2016 scorers with six goals, was left frustrated by a solid Socceroos defensive display in a tight first half.
The Atletico Madrid star wrote his name into the history books after he went down under a tackle from Josh Rishdon in the penalty box in the second half of the Group ‘C’ fixture.
Referee Andres Cunha from Uruguay did not initially award a spot-kick but after viewing the VAR footage, ruled it was a penalty and Griezmann coolly slotted past Socceroos’ goalkeeper Mathew Ryan at the Kazan Arena. But French celebrations were short-lived, Australia captain Mile Jedinak levelling only four minutes later after a clear hand ball by Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.
In a match that saw Didier Deschamps’ men frustrated throughout by a gutsy Australian defensive display, French pride was only restored in the 81st minute.
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, still wearing a bandage around a recent head injury, had replaced Griezmann only minutes before playing a one-two with Paul Pogba on the edge of the area.
The Manchester United midfielder’s shot took a deflection off the boot of defender Aziz Behich before creeping over the outstretched hands of Ryan and bouncing over the goalline.
Deschamps, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, will be thanking his lucky stars after a performance which will give him more questions than answers about his ambitious side — the second-youngest in the tournament after Nigeria.
In a tight first half that saw Griezmann, teenager Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele fail to spark, it was the yellow-clad Aussie fans who have invaded the town in recent days who had most to cheer about.