In what promises to be a busy day of World Cup action with four games on tap, star-studded France huffed and puffed before overcoming a determined and organized Australia 2-1. Former Evertonian Tim Cahill will have to wait a bit longer in his bid to tie the World Cup record of scoring in four straight tourneys as he was an unused substitute.
After overcoming some early France pressure, hardworking Australia led by Aaron Mooy grew into the game and were good value for the 0-0 scoreline at the half as they continued to frustrate their skilled but disorganized opponents.
The second half got off to a controversial start as we saw the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) called into use for the first time in this tournament when Josh Risdon played the ball but appeared to have caught Antoine Griezmann in his followthrough. Referee Andres Cunha reviewed the video and rescinded his previous decision to let play continue and gave the French a penalty that Griezmann easily dispatched.
However minutes later the Socceroos had a penalty of their own after defender Samuel Umtiti appeared to lose sight of a cross coming in and handled clumsily. Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak neatly dispatched home to tie the game, but Manchester United star Paul Pogba broke underdog hearts late on with a cheeky lob to win it for Les Bleus.
xG map for France - Australia. France were mostly unconvincing against a defensively strong Australia but were fortunate to have midfield superstar Paul Pogba who created one goal and scored the other. pic.twitter.com/UOcWf4hDob— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) June 16, 2018
Peru and Denmark had the potential to be an open, attacking affair and it mostly delivered too, though there was only one goal in the game. The South American side started with intent, exposing the Danes down the right time and again.
Once again VAR had a part to play today with the referee originally missing Christian Cueva getting hacked down by Yussuf Poulsen, but after the video review he had no hesitation pointing to the spot. Cueva however got his penalty all wrong and fired it well over with the goalie Kasper Schmeichel sprawling, and you got the feeling it was not going to be their day.
Christian Eriksen’s influence on the game continued to grow and it was no surprise when on a quick break he found Poulsen running free down the left. The speedy winger cut in and placed his shot past the goalkeeper to give the Danes a lead they never relinquished despite intense pressure from the Peruvians.
xG map for Peru - Denmark.— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) June 16, 2018
I guess most of Peru's best moves broke down *before* there was a clear shooting opportunity. pic.twitter.com/Nv82Fr9uVG
One game in and Group C is now interestingly poised with France and Denmark pulling loose at the top of the table.