Australia coach Bert van Marwijk: Referee 'didn't know' about VAR call

Sunday, 17 Jun, 2018

Antoine Griezmann scored the first penalty given by VAR in World Cup history as France edged past Australia 2-1 in their Group C opener.

Coach van Marwijk said his first reaction was that it was not a penalty but preferred to talk about the pride he had in his players. He is better off in a midfield three rather than a two, we can all see that and I felt he did well. "The referee did not bow his whistle, so I moved on with that".

But Australia spent most of the first half defending and ultimately frustrating France, rarely creating real chances of their own.

"It's very hard but it's also hard to decide, when a referee, for 50,000 people on his back, must decide when he is doubting".

France were a long way from their best at the Kazan Arena, with their heralded attacking trio of Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele failing to ignite against a dogged Australian outfit. "He was standing very close in the moment of the penalty and he directly said, 'No penalty.' He directly said, 'Go on.' It's also a human being, so everybody makes mistakes".

France did restore their lead in the 81st minute as Pogba exchanged passes with his teammate before seeing his shot deflect over the goal line.

Mile Jedinak quickly drew the Socceroos level with a penalty at the other end following Samuel Umtiti's inexplicable handball, before goal-line technology was required for France's late victor, claimed by Paul Pogba after a hefty deflection off Aziz Behich. The Atletico Madrid striker denied he had exaggerated the challenge.

"I'm proud and disappointed, I think we gave a very good performance, nobody had expected that we could play like this against France", said van Marwijk.

"It's good that there is VAR in these situations".

Unsurprisingly, France's coach Didier Deschamps took a different slant.

But the former France captain was also sceptical about the wider use of the technology, saying he felt decisions during the Spain-Portugal match could have been referred to the technology.

The French side stepped in at the Kazan stadium as one of the title favorites and are loaded with some of the finest talent in world football, whereas, Australia only just managed to qualify for the World Cup and are reliant on the veteran and seemingly age less 38- year old, Tim Cahill.

"Maybe it's not clear".

The real drama, however, unfolded after the interval with the VAR decision. "It can be useful in some situations".