Following a disappointing outing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, France was seemingly looking for a confident start in Russia on Saturday afternoon and despite having a hard time in their opening contest against Australia, the Les Bleus did manage to kick-start their WC Campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Men From Down Under.
Coming into this Group C opening match, both France and Australia had very balanced sides on paper, especially the former having the better squad depth of the two sides. Didier Deschamps’ men were certainly favorites to win showdown and that too in a very comprehensive manner, but full credits to the Australian side for holding out on their own and managing to put up a very resilient fight till the final whistle.
France’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Australia definitely did not come as an easy victory for the former one-time World Cup winners, who many fans initially thought would dominate the game right from the get-go. However, that wasn’t the case to be apparently, as the Australian side started off the match in brilliant fashion and stretched the first half of the contest to a 0-0 goalless scoreline.
The French National Side started off the game in a tremendous fashion and were all guns blazing as the likes of Kyllian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Paul Pogba brought the very best out of Aussie keeper Matt Ryan within the first six minutes of the game.
Australia, however, on the other hand, also had their moments throughout the match, but keeper Hugo Lloris didn’t have much to do in the first half of the game, other than saving a few close calls from Aaron Mooy.
Regardless of that, as many fans would argue, the French eventually managed to snatch a 2-1 victory from The Aussies in a match where we witnessed the usage of the first VAR penalty decision in FIFA World Cup history. France’s star forward Antoine Griezmann initially stepped up to the plate and kept his cool in order to open the scoring for Deschamps’ men, but in response, it was Australia’s turn to receive a penalty of their own as skipper Mile Jedinak leveled the scores at 1-1.
As we entered into the final minutes of the game, it seemed like Australia had apparently done enough in order to pull off an important draw in their opening fixture, but it was Manchester United’s Paul Pogba who turned out to be the biggest difference between the two sides, scoring a beautiful volley in the 80th minute to give France the 2-1 victory and all three points.
Positives for France:
The French side is truly one of the most balanced teams in this year’s World Cup and the Les Bleus once again proved their worth with this brilliant all-around performance. From attack to defense, France looked very strong through and through and their squad depth is certainly one of the best in this year’s tournament.
Negatives for France:
If we had to pick out any one solitary flaw in this French side, then it is definitely going to be their performance in the final third and their capability of capitalizing on important situations and eventually score goals at the right time. However, that won’t seem to be a big issue for Didier Deschamp and his boys.
Positives for Australia:
The Aussie attack looked really solid on the night with Leckie and Mooy constantly looking to trouble Lloris at any given opportunity, but it was The Aussies’ defense that stood out the most during this match.
Negatives for Australia:
Despite a strong defensive performance, the Aussie defenders did look a bit shaken-up whenever France looked to find an opening via the two wings and after conceding the second goal, there was definitely a sign of lack of confidence among the Aussie full-backs.