France through to round of 16 as Jedinak’s penalty earns draw for Australia

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Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike helped France overcome – and eliminate – a resilient Peru to earn a spot in the knockout round of the World Cup.
Ricardo Gareca’s side, buoyed on by their passionate support inside the Ekaterinburg Arena, came alive in the second half after falling behind in the 34th minute but ultimately could not find the equaliser that would have prevented their exit.
Monaco’s Mbappe was the player to punish the Peruvians when he tapped in Olivier Giroud’s deflected shot, coming after a period of France dominance.
But it was Peru who had the upper hand after the break. Midfielder Pedro Aquino went closest to levelling when his stunning strike cannoned off the bar.
Benfica’s Andre Carrillo, who was on loan at Watford last season, also tested Hugo Lloris’ goal with a strike while substitute Jefferson Farfan hooked his effort into the side-netting.
France’s defence remained resolute to the final whistle, although they have yet to convince fully that they are one of the favourites for the title.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s manager, Age Hareide, said Video Assistant Referees (VAR) are taking the “charm” out of the World Cup after Australia scored a debatable penalty to keep their last-16 hopes alive.
Australia cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s fine opener when Mile Jedinak converted from the spot after Yussuf Poulsen’s handball in the area was penalised by VAR.
The ball struck Poulsen on his trailing arm as he contested a header with Mathew Leckie.
“I do believe it was a penalty but the whole issue with VAR is that there are people somewhere in Russia deciding to look at this situation because it looks like a penalty,” said Hareide.
“That is OK but there were other situations in the match where they should have stopped it to look at what actually happened but they are not doing that, so who decides?
“Is it the referee on the pitch or someone watching in a dark room somewhere else?
“To me, it was probably correct but it does remove a bit of the charm of football to have such a precise system.
“I don’t know how it will work out for football in the long run.”
In an absorbing encounter, Aston Villa’s Jedinak sent Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way for his second goal of the tournament after Eriksen had put Denmark ahead with a super finish following Nicolai Jorgensen’s clever lay-off.
Aaron Mooy went close from distance for Australia before Denmark’s Pione Sisto was left holding his head after a curling shot from outside the area flashed just wide.
The result means Denmark needs a point in their final Group C match against France to be certain of reaching the knockout stage, while Australia can still qualify, but must beat Peru to have any hope of extending their stay in Russia. (BBC Sport)

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