Paul Pogba goes down under a challenge from Mathew Leckie.
Paul Pogba goes down under a challenge from Mathew Leckie.

Frustrated Leckie lashes ‘diving’ French

SOCCEROOS winger Mathew Leckie has taken aim at France's gamesmanship and a whistle-happy referee after Australia's heartbreaking 2-1 loss, insisting it's a bad look for football.

Leckie is walking a disciplinary tightrope for the rest of the World Cup group stages after earning a yellow card during a frustrating afternoon in Kazan.

The speedster went in to the book in the 13th minute and conceded a further four fouls, with France left-back Lucas Hernandez going down easily on several ocassions.

 

It drew the ire of Australian fans in the crowd, who went on to boo every touch from the Atletico Madrid youngster, and Leckie says it's a blight on football.

"It's disappointing for the game, that's the type of controversy that upsets people about football," he said.

"It doesn't help when my opponent, the left defender (Hernandez), was falling over and playing a lot of diving.

"It was frustrating, he was literally falling over without any contact and the referee was giving free-kicks.

Lucas Hernandez and Mathew Leckie had quite a tussle. Picture: AFP.
Lucas Hernandez and Mathew Leckie had quite a tussle. Picture: AFP.

"I tried to speak to the referee, to tell him I wasn't even touching him, he's waiting for the small contact to fall down. The referee didn't want to hear anything about it. He avoided it."

Leckie was critical of official Andres Cunha, claiming the Uruguyuan could have been more pragmatic with his decisions.

"Throughout the whole game the referee gave away fouls too easily," Leckie said.

"We're playing a World Cup, it's the biggest stage, a very important game and there is obviously high intensity and speed in the game. He could have let a lot more go. He was giving easy free kicks, which on another day, aren't free kicks."

Leckie said the early caution caused him to scale back his natural, combative style.

"I always give 100 per cent and be agressive and go into every tackle, fairly of course. 11 minutes in was too early to give me a yellow card. I didn't have the feeling I did too much wrong, it was just mistimed, not aggressive or dangerous," he said.

"The coach said make sure you don't get yourself in trouble and get a second yellow. It changes things, I can't be aggressive as I'd like. But I still did what I could."


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