Saturday morning (GMT) saw the first match of Group C take place in the FIFA World Cup 2018 as France hosted Australia at the Kazan Arena.
Though France were humiliated in the Euros more than two years ago, they came back as a stronger team ready to dominate in a new international tournament.
Didier Deschamps’ men looked incredibly overpowered in attack and midfield but decided to use new faces at the full back positions.
Though Australia kicked off the match, France asserted their dominance from the get-go as runs were being made consistently in the visitor’s half.
Every time the Aussies tried to attack, the French responded with aggression and continued pushing in the first 15 minutes.
For a moment, France were caught off guard from a set piece as the Socceroos were inches away in scoring with Trent Sainsbury in the box.
Confidence was growing for the men in Yellow as they started to take control of the ball and make important runs. But France still had the edge.
Australia’s change in play made the French slow down as although the home side were pushing, the Aussies retained the ball in their half.
France right back Benjamin Pavard looked like he had a hard time going up front as the visitor’s defence were on him near their box. Passing backwards, the 22-year-old looked weak on the ball.
It was a disappointing first half for Les Bleus as they should’ve scored in the opening minutes of the match.
The teams leave the pitch goalless for the half time whistle.
France started the second half looking to press a bit more than the did in the closing of the first.
However, the game went back to the same momentum with the Away side showing some threat up front.
The 55th minute is where things got interesting as France made a burst into attack and Antoine Griezmann went down in the away box.
The referee uses the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time in the tournament to review whether or not it was a penalty.
After seeing the replay, the referee points to the spot for a penalty to France.
GOAL – Antoine Griezmann (PEN) – 57th Minute – France 1-0 Australia
As the stands filled with boos from the Aussies fans, Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann stepped up to take the penalty.
Without hesitation, the 27-year-old blasted it into the right side of the net.
Though the goal awakened the French attack, Australia still pushed forward.
To make things difficult for the homeside, the roos were awarded a penalty after Samuel Umtiti got a hand to the ball in his own box.
GOAL – Mile Jedinak (PEN) – 62nd Minute – France 1-1 Australia
Only five minutes after the first goal, Australia captain Mile Jedinak scored the penalty giving Australia the equaliser they needed to stay in the game.
France were desperate to break the lock. Goalscorer Griezmann had been subbed off for Olivier Giroud to add some aerial support up front.
Frustration was growing on both sides of the stands as none of the teams managed to convert solid chances.
GOAL – Paul Pogba – 81st Minute – France 2-1 Australia
Les Bleus finally got their breakthrough in the last 10 minutes of the game as they pushed forward in the Aussie box.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba took a shot 20 yards out the the ball deflected from Aziz Behich onto the underside of the crossbar of the roos’ net and into the goal.
France celebrate early but awaited confirmation to make sure the goal standed. The ball was definitely across the line.
An extra five minutes of stoppage time was added on but this just wasn’t enough for Australia to equalise despite playing well to the final seconds.
The match ended 2-1 to Les Bleus.
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