First Use Of VAR At World Cup Controversially Gifts France Opening Goal

France took a 1-0 lead against Australia thanks to a penalty kick awarded by VAR.

France meandered around the pitch for about 55 minutes without creating much in way of scoring opportunities. Then, with the help of the very first use of World Cup VAR, Les Bleus took the first lead of the match against Australia on an Antoine Griezmann penalty kick on Saturday. 

None of the first four matches of the World Cup required the referee to take a look at VAR. About 10 minutes into the second half of Saturday’s first match, the center referee Andres Cunha went to the sideline to take a second look at a tackle Joshua Risdon attempted to make on Griezmann in the box. 

After a short review, Cunha pointed to the spot. Shortly later, Griezmann buried the penalty kick for a 1-0 France lead in the 58th minute. 

The call was close, but Risdon definitely did not get any of the ball. You could make the argument Griezmann was never going to catch up to the ball, but it was still a foul in the box, which replays made clear. 

Of course, that didn’t stop Twitter from exploding with complaints about VAR, but honestly I don’t have the energy to reply to luddites who don’t want the game to be called as accurately as possible. Read about how World Cup VAR and how it works here

Less than five minutes later, Cunha was pointing to the spot again. This time there was absolutely no need for VAR as Samuel Umtiti idiotically had his arm up in the air where it caught the flight of a ball into the box. 

Mile Jedinak, who scored a hat trick in the match that clinch World Cup qualification for Australia, made no mistake with the PK.

Missed in all the craziness of two PKs in five minutes and the first use of World Cup VAR was the brilliant turn and pass from N’Golo Kante to start the play that led to the first goal. 

Videos you might like