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Australia coach Bert van Marwijk: Referee 'didn't know' on penalty decision

ESPN's Stephanie Brantz speaks to Australia fans who were quite positive despite their 2-1 defeat to France.

A second-guess from a referee, some vague video and cruel luck denied Australia in a 2-1 defeat against France at the World Cup, according to coach Bert van Marwijk.

France's first goal came from a penalty given after help from the video assistant referee (VAR) -- a first at a World Cup -- in a decision which van Marwijk says will be forever debated.

Antoine Greizman scored from the spot in the 58th minute after being tripped by Josh Risdon, though contact came after the Australian touched the ball first when making a sliding tackle.

Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha originally waved away French appeals for a penalty but then sought a video review and pointed to the spot after watching the replay.

"The body language was that he didn't know," Van Marwijk said of the referee's posture while watching the review. "Let's say from 10, seven people say penalty and three say no penalty. So I don't know.

"He was standing very close in the moment of the penalty [incident] and he directly said 'no penalty', he directly said 'go on'.

"It's also a human being so everybody makes mistakes. But when you are 100 percent sure it's no penalty and you go and you doubt; you have to ask him."

Unsurprisingly, France's coach Didier Deschamps took a different slant.

"I'm not going to complain about the use of video today," Deschamps said. "It helped correct a mistake."

Risdon said he thought the penalty should not have been given because he got the ball first.

Antoine Griezmann is fouled by Joshua Risdon, leading to a penalty given through VAR.
Josh Risdon was ruled to have conceded a penalty after review.

"I definitely got first touch on the ball... it might have been a little touch but I definitely did clip it," Risdon said.

Just four minutes after the video flashpoint, Australia equalised when captain Mile Jedinak converted a penalty after a blatant handball from French defender Samuel Umtiti.

But France pinched the points in the 81st minute with what Van Marwijk described as "such a lucky goal." Paul Pogba poked toward goal, the ball deflected off the boot of Australia's Aziz Behich and looped into the crossbar before falling centimetres over the line.

Technology was again called on to confirm the entire ball crossed the goal-line, leaving Australia's players distraught.

"I don't feel like we were beaten by a better team, almost by technology," goalkeeper Mat Ryan said.

The Socceroos, rank outsiders, outplayed tournament fancies France for much of the contest.

"The French didn't know what to do anymore in big parts of the game." van Marwijk said. "[I am] proud and disappointed. We gave a very good performance. Nobody expected that we could play like this against France.

"The way we wanted to play, they [Australian players] did it for 95 percent, so I cannot blame any of my players, I only can give them compliments. It's football. We have no point. At least, we ... deserved to play a draw."

The result makes it difficult for Australia to get out of the group stage, with matches to come against Denmark on Thursday and Peru the following Tuesday.

"When you see this game [against France], you must have confidence for the rest of the tournament... but it is never a guarantee," Van Marwijk added.

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