France have reportedly called on FIFA to change their 1-0 loss against Tunisia to a draw after they claim the referee broke the rules.
Wahbi Khazri’s second-half goal gave the Africans a famous win over the defending champions, although it was not enough to secure their place in the knockout stages.
France thought they had snatched a dramatic draw in the last minute of eight added on for stoppages when substitute Antoine Griezmann lashed the ball home.
But a lengthy VAR check concluded he was offside when the ball was crossed into the area, sparking wild Tunisian celebrations.
Tunisia had kicked off again, thinking France had been awarded the goal, with New Zealand referee Matthew Conger even blowing the final whistle seconds later.
However, it wasn’t until after the final whistle that Conger was alerted to a potential offside by Qatari VAR Abdullah al-Marri.
Tunisian defender Montassar Talbi miscued a header in the build-up to Griezmann’s disallowed goal but Al-Marri claimed that Talbi had not ‘deliberately’ played the ball and that the France forward was therefore offside.
Despite VAR regulations allowing referees the power to disallow goals after the final whistle, the guidelines state that no decisions can be reversed after play restarts following a stoppage.
And The Sun claims that France FA chiefs are ‘understood to be determined to ensure FIFA buckles and officially turns a 1-0 defeat into a 1-1 draw’.
The newspaper adds that the two officials involved are ‘now at serious risk of being sent home from the World Cup when the officials’ cut is made at the conclusion of the group phase tomorrow’.
France boss Didier Deschamps defended his decision to play a weakened team against Tunisia with players such as Kylian Mbappe, Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele all starting on the bench.
Deschamps said after the match: “We can’t tick all the boxes. The first objective was the most important and that was to seal our place in the round of 16.
“The 24 players won their first two games and lost the last one, but I need all 24 to be available for me in four days.
“A couple of them have been able to rest up, they will have fresh legs. We were coming out of two high-intensity games. We will play four games in 12 days, we needed a breath of fresh air.
“But we need to do better than we did. Yes, the opponent punished us and gave us a run for our money.
“I wasn’t underestimating the opponent, I wasn’t not taking the game seriously, I was thinking about the game that is waiting for us on Sunday.”
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