France coach Didier Deschamps complained that a lack of goal-line technology had cost his side a victory in Greece in their final Euro 2024 qualifier on Tuesday after what looked like a certain late goal was not awarded by the officials.
The match stood at 2-2 in the dying minutes when Kingsley Coman’s deflected cutback appeared to cross the goal-line before spinning back onto the post and out.
But it was missed by the on-field officials, who had no goal-line technology to help them.
“This is the international level. There was no qualification at stake obviously but there could have been,” Deschamps complained to broadcaster TF1.
“To have a ground with no goal-line technology — because there isn’t, because it’s expensive — obviously it is incoherent, but the officials have to put up with it,” he said, adding that the VAR official could not give a goal if he was “only 99 percent sure” the ball had gone in.
Last year’s World Cup runners-up had already secured a spot at the upcoming finals in Germany as one of the top seeds but were looking to finish with a one hundred percent record from their eight games in Group B.
A win would also have left them on course to end the year on top of the world rankings.
With captain Kylian Mbappe given a rest from the starting line-up, the visitors had needed a powerful long-range strike by Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana in the 74th minute to draw level at 2-2 against the 2004 European champions.
Fofana had played a part in France’s opener three minutes before half-time, as his pass was laid off by Olivier Giroud for Paris Saint-Germain striker Randal Kolo Muani, who took a touch and drilled a powerful strike in off the underside of the bar from a tight angle.
The hosts were already confirmed in third place in the group, with the Netherlands the other automatic qualifiers.
Greece know their chances of reaching the Euro will depend on the outcome of play-offs next March, in which they will take on Kazakhstan for the right to play Georgia or Luxembourg in a decider.
Yet they produced a determined fightback at the OPAP Arena in Athens, drawing level 11 minutes after the restart thanks to a fine volley from the edge of the box by captain Tasos Bakasetas that gave goalkeeper Brice Samba no chance.
Five minutes later, Fotis Ioannidis gave them the lead after being set up by Dimitris Giannoulis.
Fofana equalised before the drama at the end, which also saw Mbappe, on as a substitute, denied an injury-time winner as his strike was tipped onto the bar and over by goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.