France 2-1 Australia: Late Pogba strike sees Les Bleus overcome brave Socceroos in group C opener

France 2-1 Australia: Late Pogba strike sees Les Bleus overcome brave Socceroos in group C opener

Second half goals from Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba sealed the win for Didier Deschamps men in Kazan.

Brandon Sayer
FranceLloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Pogba, Tolisso (Matuidi, min. 78), Kante; Mbappé, Griezmann (Giroud, min. 70), Dembele (Fekir, min. 70).
AustraliaRyan; Risdon, Milligan, Sainsbury, Behich; Jedinak, Mooy; Kruse (Arazani, min. 84), Leckie, Rogic (Irvine, min. 72); Nabbout (Juric, min. 64).
SCORE1-0, min. 58, Griezmann. 1-1, min. 62, Jedinak. 2-1, min. 81, Pogba.
REFEREEAndrés Cunha (URU). Booked: Leckie (min. 13), Risdon (min. 57), Tolisso (min. 76), Behich (min. 87).
INCIDENTS2018 World Cup Group C match between France and Australia, held at the Kazan Arena in Russia.

France just about scraped their way to a 2-1 win over Australia in their Group C opener in Kazan, on Saturday afternoon, to begin their World Cup 2018 campaign on a positive note.

It took until the 58th minute for Les Bleus to take the lead and it came in controversial fashion as referee Andrés Cunha pointed to the spot after consulting VAR and Antoine Griezmann stepped up to score from the spot.

The Aussies though equalised four minutes later with a penalty of their own as Mile Jedinak scored after Samuel Umtiti handled the ball in the area.

Les Bleus though took the lead once again nine minutes from time through Paul Pogba as he finished off a fantastic move to seal the important three points for France in their opening game.

Les Bleus started on the front foot

As was to be expected, France started the game on the front foot with Mathew Ryan forced into making a few smart saves to keep his side on level terms.

The first save came in the fourth minute of the game when a good ball from Benjamin Pavard found Kylian Mbappé in on goal but the striker saw his near post shot well-saved by Ryan.

Further long range shots from Pogba and Griezmann kept Ryan on his toes but after the first 15 minutes, the Socceroos grew into the game and casued France problems at the other end.


Lloris had to be alert to stop the Aussies from taking a shock lead

They almost took a shock lead when a free-kick from Aaron Mooy was flicked on by Matthew Leckie which Corentin Tolisso deflected towards his own goal and it was going into the back of the net but for a brilliant save from Hugo Lloris.

This gave the Australians confidence and they started to press the French and that worked a treat for the rest of the half as Les Bleus really struggled to get any momentum going much to the annoyance of Didier Deschamps on the sidelines.

Les Bleus in need to up their game in the second half

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 perfect start in the group.



VAR appears as both sides score from the penalty spot

If France got a talking to at half-time, it didn't show at the beginning of the second half as they didn't show much improvement until the 58th minute when a great through ball from Pogba found Griezmann through on goal but the striker fell to floor in the box after tackle from Josh Risdon.

Uruguayan referee Cunha, consulted VAR over tackle and decided to award the penalty much to the dismay of the Australian players. Griezmann stepped up to take the penalty and he smashed the ball home.

Therefore, it was key that the Socceroos didn't let that decision affect them and try to get back into the game and they were given the chance to do just that when Umititi handled the ball in the area after a free-kick was whipped into the area by Mooy and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Jedinak stepped up to take the penalty and confidently sent Lloris the wrong way to put his side back on level terms.

That goal really shook the France players as they lost any kind of rhythm that they were builiding up after taking the lead and that played into the Australians hands.

The longer the game went on you could see that the French players were getting frustrated as the Socceroos defenders were doing really well to deny them from getting any decent chances on goal.



Pogba sealed the three points for Les Bleus with a deflected strike

That was until nine minutes from time when a well-worked move from France resulted in a great one-two from Pogba and Oliver Giroud which resulted in Pogba scoring via a deflection and the crossbar.

You could see that the goal really knocked the stuffing out of the Australians who had done so well to stay in the game but in the end they fell to a defeat but they would have taken a lot from the game given how hard they pushed one of the favourites for the World Cup.