By 90Min
June 16, 2018

Australian manager Bert van Marwijk has questioned the decision making of referee Andres Cunha after his side fell to a 2-1 defeat in their opening World Cup game, following the historic intervention of VAR.

France and Antoine Griezmann were the benefactors of the technology on Saturday as a second half tackle from Josh Risdon saw the Frenchman bundled over in the box, where later consultation with VAR awarded a penalty to give Les Bleus the lead in the 58th minute.

The Socceroos swiftly levelled the scores through skipper Mile Jedinak four minutes later with a spot kick of their own following a handball from Samuel Umtiti, before a deflected Paul Pogba shot clipped the underside of the bar and over the line to deliver all three points to France.


The controversy surrounding the match started when the match official initially waved away any foul play on Griezmann before taking a look at video replays on the touch line, a decision making process Van Marwijk has accused Cunha of being unsure over.

“The body language was that he didn’t know, from my position," he told reporters following the defeat in Kazan Arena, via Fox Sports

“I [haven’t seen] it back on television. From my position, I couldn’t see it really well, I thought at first it was no penalty.

“I hoped that maybe one time there will be a referee very honest. When you, in that moment, on your own, go to the video screen, I saw him standing there, the body language was that he didn’t know, from my position, and then you have to take a decision: France or Australia?

“I got a lot of reactions and let’s say from 10, seven people say penalty and three say no penalty. So I don’t know, I have to see it. But it’s very difficult. Also very difficult to decide for a referee with 50,000 people on his back to decide when he is doubting.

“On the other side, he was standing very close to the moment of the penalty and he directly said no penalty, he directly said go on. He’s also a human being, everyone makes mistakes. But when you’re 100 per cent sure it’s no penalty and you go and you doubt … you have to ask him.”

The defeat comes as a crushing blow to Australia after they comfortably contained France's attacking firepower for much of the game, but the former Saudi Arabia boss insisted he remained 'proud' of his side's display. 

SAEED KHAN/GettyImages

“[I’m] proud and disappointed. We gave a very good performance. Nobody expected that we could play like this against France," Van Marwijk added. 

"I think there were a lot of moments they didn’t know what to do anymore. The players of France, they said it themselves. So that’s a big compliment for us.”

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