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France vs Australia

World Cup Finals 2018 - Group Stage, Match 1
France vs Australia
at Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia on 2018-06-16T10:00:00
Score: 2-1 (0-0)
Scorers: Mile Jedinak (62')
Official Info: Socceroos
Previous Match: Hungary vs Australia
Next Match: Denmark vs Australia

The finals are finally here and we drew one of the tournament favourites in France for our first match. The kick-off time was perfect - 8:00pm on a Saturday night - and I headed to the SUSFC function to watch. A good crowd was in for an expected tough match.

The first half was pretty even. We started slowly and looked at risk before getting into the game and giving as good as we got. 0-0 at half-time seemed pretty fair to me. In the second half, the French stepped it up and we occasionally struggled to match it. A key moment came when the French made a fast break and we rushed to catch up. It looked to me like a good tackle and the referee initially agreed. Then the VAR stepped in, a penalty was given and it was consummately dispatched. Down 0-1, we didn't give in and were soon on par - Jedinak brilliant from the spot again after a handball. The scores stayed level until a few minutes to go, when a lucky deflection just crossed the line. The game finished 1-2.

We played very well and pushed a top side to the limit. It was gut-wrenching not to get a point, which I felt we deserved, particularly in the circumstances. I believe the decision to give a penalty against us was a mistake, given that the original decision was not to award one. The VAR footage was inconclusive, ie. there was no way it was a clear error by the referee.

In the other match the result did not go our way. Denmark managed to pull off a surprise win, with Peru somehow unable to find the back of the net, despite a plethora of chances. It's going to be very tough from here.