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Bert van Marwijk questions referee after VAR drama costs Socceroos

4:55 AM GMT+8 17/06/2018
Bert van Marwijk - cropped
Bert van Marwijk questioned the referee's conviction after the first VAR-assisted penalty went against Australia in their 2-1 defeat to France

Australia head coach Bert van Marwijk has expressed mixed emotions after Andres Cunha became the first referee in World Cup history to award a penalty after consulting VAR.

The Socceroos had comfortably kept France at bay until shortly after the interval when Antoine Griezmann was clipped by Josh Risdon after latching onto Paul Pogba's throughball.

Referee Cunha initially waved away penalty appeals, but after consulting VAR decided that Risdon had indeed brought down the Atletico Madrid striker just inside the area.

Mile Jedinak pulled Australia level four minutes later with a spot-kick of his own, but Pogba sealed all three points for France 10 minutes from time with a deflected effort.

While Van Marwijk does not believe a penalty should have been awarded, he does understand the difficulty of the situation Cunha found himself in.

He said: "I didn't see it back on TV. From my position, I didn't see it well and at first, I thought 'no penalty'.

"I hoped that maybe there will be a very honest referee. When he went to the touchline his body language was that he didn't know [what decision to give].

"Then he has to make a decision, France or Australia. I have a lot of reactions. From 10 people, some will say 'penalty' and some will say 'not'.

"It's difficult, particularly when the referee has 50,000 people on his back when he is doubting.

"I think he was standing very close to incident and he directly said, 'no penalty'. He said go on. He is a human being so we all make mistakes."

France's heralded attacking trio of Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele failed to ignite against a dogged Australian outfit, with Van Marwijk stating: "I think the French didn't know what to do against us, for big parts."

Australia now face Denmark in Group C on Thursday and Van Marwijk has seen enough from his side over the past month to know that they can get points on the board.

"When you see this game you must have confidence, but it's never a guarantee," he added.

"The way we worked the last four weeks gives me confidence. Yesterday I was asked if I was afraid to lose 5-0. Today you can see this is a different team.

"One positive thing is we showed guts and that we can be ourselves, but the next game is another game. It gives us confidence."