France 2 - Australia 1
Griezmann - 58' (pen)
Jedinak - 62' (pen)
Pogba - 80'
Somewhere on the Volga River, an inflatable kangaroo is steadily drifting downstream in disgust as ten thousand Australians all collectively go in search of 30 grams of vodka to dilute the taste of their own tears.
France's 2-1 defeat of Australia is one of the hardest of all to take; not because Australia were rubbish but because the showed signs of adequacy that wasn't present in the qualifiers and they pushed France right up until the end of the match.
The poet Emily Dickenson wrote that:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.
She was right about hope having feathers but she didn't realise that they were the feathers of a Gallic Rooster and that it does indeed stop.
This match started with Australia playing somewhat tentatively and France came out of the blocks with every step being just that little bit longer, every touch being just that little bit sharper, and every kick being just that little bit stronger. As the match turned the half hour mark, that advantage seemed to dissipate, as the Australian players grew 3 inches and returned to their normal height; instead of cowering at the supposed gulf in class.
As half-time arrived though, Australia's adequacy had proved to just be enough and the scores remained deadlocked in a blank stalemate.
After the break and ten minutes in, Australia won a spurious place in football history when Risdon was awarded the first penalty against him via the Video Assistant Referee system (VAR), after his quite frankly idiotic challenge on Griezmann. The match was allowed to go one for three minutes while the VAR confused everyone before awarding Griezmann a penalty which he duly converted.
As if to correct this confused state of the universe, in a case of instant karma coming to get you, Samuel Umtiti handballed a Mooy cross which was also visited by the VAR, which awarded a penalty; and Jedinak put that penalty away just four minutes after the previous one.
At this point I was expectign that this would end in a 1-1 draw which would have been a fair result but ten minutes from home, a Paul Pogba shot clipped a defender and bounced in after coming off the underside of the bar. I thought that this was utterly rubbish because all the ball hadn't crossed the line and that this was a Wembley-tor, but the VAR confirmed that all the ball had indeed crossed the line and that there wasn't any offside either.
I'm going to accuse the VAR of being a cheating cheating knave, because I'm sure that the sensors in the goal have taken a bribe because technology is going to rise up and kill us all. I'm convinced that my microwave oven hates me, and that the dishwasher and refrigerator are going to kill me in the middle of the night in a white goods vendetta. Even my DVD player says te word "hello" when I switch it on, in a menacing fashion.
France held on to their single goal lead for those final ten minutes and for a whole five minutes of extra time, but in all honesty, this was an entirely expected result. 2-0 France was the shortest of odds for all results and the fact that Australia had equalised at one point is noteworthy.
This match will go down in history though as the first and second VAR penalties at a World Cup and the fact that VAR confirmed the third goal, only cemented its usefulness.
France 2 - Australia 1, or rather VAR 3 - Doubters 0. The system works. It works well. Y'all can shut up now.