Technology helps France beat gritty Australia 2 1 in Group C

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Technology helps France beat gritty Australia 2 1 in Group C
Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan fails to save the ball as France's Paul Pogba his side's second goal during the group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

KAZAN, Russia:  Technology twice helped France at the World Cup on Saturday in its 2-1 victory over Australia.

The French team was given a penalty kick, eventually converted by Antoine Griezmann in the 58th minute, after the referee watched the replay of a foul on the sideline.

Paul Pogba later scored the winning goal in the 81st minute, and goal-line technology was used to confirm the ball had crossed the line after bouncing down off the crossbar.

Pogba had been unimpressive until the goal, but he set up a 1-2 with substitute Olivier Giroud and beat Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

Australia captain Mile Jedinak had briefly equalized from the penalty spot in the 62nd after Samuel Umtiti handled the ball in the area.

After a balanced first half in the Group C match at the Kazan Arena, France was awarded the first penalty following a VAR review. After checking images of a tackle from behind by Joshua Risdon on Griezmann, referee Andres Cunha pointed to the penalty spot.

Griezmann sent a powerful shot into the net that left Ryan stranded.

France had controlled possession and circulated the ball well before the interval, but after four shots in the first eight minutes the French failed to get a single shot on target in the remainder of the first half.

GROUP DYNAMICS

It’s the ideal start for France, whose ambition is to finish at the top of a group that also includes Peru and Denmark. A win against the South Americans next would allow France coach Didier Deschamps to rotate his players for the final game.

Australia, whose goal is to survive the group stage, will need two good results to escape elimination.

KEY TO SUCCESS

The French did not impress in the final third of the field and their defence often looked shaky.

Umtiti made a clumsy mistake to concede a penalty but the French showed guts to secure the three points.

Australia delivered a gritty display that bodes well for its next two matches. The team’s defence is solid and they were unlucky in the end.

They also have a skilful and inspired playmaker in Aaron Mooy.