Plenty of penalties!
Day Three of the 2018 World Cup began yesterday with France becoming the first team to benefit from a penalty called after video review in a World Cup match.
Antoine Griezmann put France ahead with the ensuing penalty kick. Australia tied it with a penalty kick by Mile Jedniak, but France moved ahead again when Paul Pogba's shot hit the crossbar and then made it over the goal line. The tally was confirmed by goal line technology.
In the second match, Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick and Iceland managed a 1-1 draw against Argentina in the first World Cup appearance for the tiny island nation.
Late yesterday, Peru's Christian Cueva sailed a penalty kick over the goal in a match against Denmark, which won 1-0 on Yussuf Poulsen's goal in the 58th minute.
The final match was a 2-0 win for Croatia over Nigeria. Luka Modric scored on a penalty kick after Croatia went ahead on a first-half own-goal by Nigeria.
The 1998 champions, France, with several European club stars in their starting team, laboured to beat a gritty Australia 2-1 in yesterday's early game.
The French team was given a controversial penalty kick, eventually converted by Griezmann in the 58th minute, after the referee watched the replay of a foul on the sideline. Then Pogba scored the winning goal in the 81st minute with the aid of goal-line technology.
"I'm not going to complain about the use of video today," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "It helped correct a mistake."
Pogba had been unimpressive until the goal, but the Manchester United midfielder set up a one-two with substitute Olivier Giroud and beat Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan to give France the victory.
After a balanced first half in the Group C match at the Kazan Arena, France were 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.
"When I received the knock, I believed there was a penalty," Griezmann said. "The referee did not blow his whistle, so I moved on with that. But when he went to see if there was a penalty, I immediately thought about how I would take it."
Griezmann hit a powerful shot that left Ryan stranded, four minutes before Jedinak then sent France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris the wrong way to put the teams level following Umtiti's clumsy foul.
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.
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.
MBAPPE THE YOUNGEST
Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player to represent France at a World Cup at 19 years, 178 days. He was 10 months younger than Bruno Bellone, who played at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.