Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Alex Reid

France TV viewers miss World Cup drama over Griezmann’s disallowed goal

Antoine Griezmann of France waits for a decicison against Tunisia
Antoine Griezmann sees his injury-time equaliser ruled out after a delayed VAR check against Tunisia. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Many TV viewers in France awoke to a shock on Thursday morning, belatedly discovering that the world champions had lost 1-0 Tunisia having turned off thinking that Antoine Griezmann had levelled the game. The broadcaster TF1 cut to an advert break after Griezmann’s shot deep into stoppage time crossed the line, believing the final whistle had sounded in the aftermath, and prompting millions of viewers to switch off.

Instead the referee, Matthew Conger, was belatedly called to consult the pitchside monitor by VAR and contentiously ruled out the late strike because of Griezmann’s offside position earlier in play. But TF1 had left its audience with footage of France celebrations and Tunisian heartbreak, continuing tournament coverage with its World Cup Mag show rather than returning to the stadium.

Ultimately, the 1-0 defeat did not change much because France still finished top of Group D and a Tunisia victory was not enough for the north African side to overtake Australia in second place. However a much-changed France losing their unbeaten record in Qatar still came as a surprise to many fans.

This is a World Cup like no other. For the last 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism is gathered on our dedicated Qatar: Beyond the Football home page for those who want to go deeper into the issues beyond the pitch.

Guardian reporting goes far beyond what happens on the pitch. Support our investigative journalism today.

TF1 issued an apology for its hasty exit on social media, and on the Mag show the journalist Grégoire Margotton explained the channel’s error to the viewers that remained. “We were convinced that it was over, everyone was going back to the locker room,” Margotton said. “It took a long, long time and Mr Conger, the New Zealand referee, went to consult the VAR. He was told after a very long time that there was an offside by Antoine Griezmann and that goal was therefore disallowed.”

However this may not be the end of the story, with the French Football Federation saying it is ready to file a complaint to Fifa on the grounds that the last-gasp equaliser had been incorrectly ruled out.

The FFF said in a statement: “We are writing a complaint after Antoine Griezmann’s goal was, in our opinion, wrongly disallowed. This complaint has to be filed within 24 hours after the final whistle.”

The FFF did not elaborate on its complaint, but there are two points of contention. Griezmann was clearly offside when Aurélien Tchouaméni crossed but latched on to ball only after the Tunisia defender Montassar Talbi’s attempted clearance, by which point he was onside. Also the game had restarted from kick-off, with the referee then appearing to blow for full time, before Conger went to review the footage. Ifab, football’s law-making body, states that if a game has been restarted after a goal is given VAR cannot intervene, so there was an error in procedure.

France salvaging a 1-1 draw would not have changed the group standings, with Tunisia still finishing third and the world champions top and facing Poland in the last 16.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.