France edge tight Group C encounter with Australia

Elena Summers
June 18, 2018

Griezmann, the top scorer at the 2016 Euro, was replaced by Giroud after 70 minutes but Deschamps on Sunday said Griezmann remains "the leader of our attack".

France swarmed around the Australian goal but couldn't get near the Australian box as Griezmann tested Ryan with a drive from outside of the box.

France midfielder Paul Pogba played a major role in his side winning their first FIFA World Cup 2018 fixture against Australia on Saturday and getting off to a good start to their campaign. Didier Deschamps couldn't have asked for much of a nicer bedding-in game than this meeting against Australia, who lost all three of their group-stage games in 2014 and have arguably declined since.

Huddersfield Town midfielder Aaron Mooy takes a place at the base of the midfield beside Mile Jedinak, while Brighton & Hove Albion's Mathew Ryan is in goal.

After a disjointed first half, the game sparked into life shortly after the interval as referee Andres Cunha awarded a penalty to France after consulting VAR and deciding that Josh Risdon had clipped Griezmann just inside the area. But seconds later, World Cup history was made when Cunha made use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.

A few minutes later, Samuel Umtiti weirdly raised his hand to a free-kick from the right, resulting in a penalty.

"I think that is harsh on the Australians I really do".

The Manchester United midfielder played in Antoine Griezmann for the forward to win a penalty for France's opening goal, before later seeing his deflected shot go in via the underside of the crossbar for the victor.

Teenager Daniel Arzani came on for Robbie Kruse as Australia chased another equaliser, but they were unable to conjure another goal as France held firm for five minutes of added time. Coach Bert van Marwijk immediately switched to a back four from the three-man defence favoured by his predecessor Ange Postecoglou when he took over in March and has forged a side that looks more compact. "We must do better".

Eight Holland players were shown cards in the game, including a red card for Johnny Heitinga, and don't be surprised to see Van Marwijk employ similar tactics to try and stop France from playing here. I cannot blame any of my players, I can only give them compliments.

"It wasn't a great match for the team or for me, but the important thing is to start with a victory", Griezmann said.

"He needs to do more, and knows it", Deschamsp said.

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