June 16, 2018 / 11:06 AM / a year ago

Balls deflate in France v Australia opener

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group C - France vs Australia - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 16, 2018 France's Hugo Lloris catches the ball REUTERS/Sergio Perez

KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - Australia defender Trent Sainsbury made a big impact early in the World Cup opener against France on Saturday, bursting the ball in a tackle on the half-hour mark at Kazan Arena.

Sainsbury won the Telstar ball deep in defence near France’s left corner but stopped suddenly with surprise and gestured to referee Andres Cunha.

He then booted the ball off the field before a new one was produced, which France striker Antoine Griezmann threw to Socceroos keeper Mathew Ryan in a sportsmanlike gesture to allow play to resume.

The second ball then had to be replaced within 10 minutes after it also deflated during the Group C match.

Editing by Ken Ferris

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