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Sports

France, Denmark dominate Group C with the help of VAR

media France's Benjamin Mendy, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe and Antoine Griezmann celebrate after the match REUTERS/Toru Hanai

France and Denmark took early command of Group C on Sunday with hard fought wins over Australian and Peru respectively. France – one of the favourites for the title – labored past an obdurate Australia side at the Kazan Arena.

Didier Deschamps’ men had to rely on 21st century gadgets such as the video assistant referee – VAR - and goal line technology to secure the three points.

Referee Andres Cunha referred to the VAR to award a penalty early in the second half. Antoine Griezmann converted the spot kick. Cunha did not need assistance to point to the spot after Samuel Umtiti’s handball. Miles Jedinak levelled and a draw seemed the likely outcome until Paul Pogba’s lob settled matters nine minutes from time.

The goal line cameras spotted that the entire ball had crossed the line before spinning back into the arms of Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

The Denmark goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel was not even called into action when Peru were awarded a penalty during the second game in Group C on Sunday. Christian Cueva’s kick on the stroke of half time went flying over Schmeichel’s goal. Cueva was in tears as he left the pitch shortly after his blunder. “At half-time we told him he had to keep playing the same,” said Ricardo Gareca, the Peru coach. The second half did not bring redemption for Cueva. Yussuf Poulsen struck for Denmark on the hour mark with the only goal of the game.

The South Americans, playing in their first World Cup since 1982, will be out if they do not get a point against France in Ekaterinburg on 21 June. Australia will be in the same position in their match against Denmark on the same day in Samara.France

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