VAR overturns referee's decision for first time, awards France penalty

Antoine Griezmann won the penalty and dispatched it to give France a deserved lead.

Antoine Griezmann looks up to France team-mate Paul Pogba.   -  Getty Images

In a match that was delicately poised and had been goalless, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) stepped in to overturn the referee's decision and give France a chance to break the deadlock.

Paul Pogba played a defence-splitting throughball from midfield. Antoine Griezmann nearly got to the ball from the left flank, but Joshua Risdon slid in with his right foot and, in the eyes of the referee, got the ball and had not fouled Griezmann.

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But when the ball went out of play, the referee made use of the VAR, in which contact was spotted — Risdon, who was the last man, caught Griezmann's left ankle, had missed the ball and caused the Atletico Madrid forward to go down in the box — and a penalty was awarded to the Les Bleus. Griezmann stepped up and scored from the spot to put France in the lead.

The technology was used twice in Friday night's Portugal-Spain thriller but it didn't overturn the referee's decision on both occasions. This was the first instance of the VAR changing the referee's decision at the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Four minutes later, Australia was awarded a free-kick for a handball by Samuel Umtiti. Mile Jedinak, the Australia captain, scored from the spot, sending his opposite number, Hugo Lloris, the wrong way.

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