France edge tight Group C encounter with Australia


France edge tight Group C encounter with Australia

Therefore, at half-time, it was goalless with the Socceroos showing that they were not going to just roll over for France but also Les Bleus really needed to up their game to the level everyone knows that they can in the second half to get off to the ideal start in the group.

It was a rare moment of fluency from the French, however, with the much vaunted attack of Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele unable to create opportunities when pace alone was not enough to get past the wall of Australian defenders.

They began with goal and forced three saves out of Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan inside the opening six minutes.

Coach Bert van Marwijk's defensive strategy nearly produced an unexpected draw against the 1998 World Cup champions, but luck was on the French side in their 2-1 victory at Kazan Arena.

That was not lost on the match victor who admitted France will have to go up a few gears if they are to trouble the better teams in Russian Federation.

Referee Andres Cunha was alerted by the VAR to a possible penalty, reviewed the footage and awarded a penalty to France.

Defender Risdon perhaps had reason to dispute the decision, before Griezmann seized the opportunity, whipping the ball to Ryan's left to claim his 21st global goal.

In a match that saw Didier Deschamps' men frustrated throughout by a gutsy Australian defensive display, French pride was only restored in the 81st minute.

Australia were awarded a penalty of their own on hour mark when Samuel Umtiti handled in the box.

There's nothing bigger in sport than the World Cup and Australians have proven that fact with over 3.4 million tuning into SBS at some stage for the Socceroos clash against France on Saturday night.

But Paul Pogba claimed the match for France later on, with goal-line technology confirming his deflected shot had gone in off the woodwork. Mile Jedinak made no mistake from the spot and restored parity for his side to breathe life back into the game.

Griezmann admitted France had not played as well as they could have.

Deschamps accepted his side needed to improve on their opening performance at the World Cup, as he looked to highlight the positives amid the negativity surrounding his team. "I did stress (to teammates) to make sure you feel that disappointment, but use it as fuel to make sure that we do the business in the coming games". "I think we deserved a draw", the Dutchman said. "But when he went to see if there was a penalty I immediately thought about how I would take it".

Giroud made the decisive pass that led to Pogba's late victor, and Matuidi helped France recover the ball higher on the pitch and accelerate play with his neat one-touch football.

"We've shown that if we work together as one unit, like we've been doing, then anything is achievable and it won't come as a shock", he said.



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