French tactics under question after opening World Cup win

Glen Norman
June 17, 2018

"I think it was a penalty, he caught me on the left foot".

Australia was supposed to be overrun - no match for a French team many pundits expect to win the entire World Cup.

Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba ensured France get their World Cup off to a winning start but questions abound over the conservative tactics employed by Didier Deschamps and the way his superior French team struggled to create chances against an Australian side that barely managed to make it to Russian Federation.

France's forward Antoine Griezmann controls the ball during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group C football match between France and Australia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16. The players of France, they said it themselves.

Australia didn't really look like scoring but France wasn't really either until Pogba, who had not been allowed to take his usual control of the midfield, poked home an 80th minute victor.


Youngster Daniel Arzani made his world cup debut and showed off his pace in a final flurry, but the minnows again struggled in the offensive third.

Australia will also be desperate for a positive start, given their last two World Cup campaigns in Brazil and South Africa were all but ruined by first-match drubbings.

Even with incredible stars like Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann on the pitch, France could not break down the Socceroos.

The Barcelona centre-back inexplicably jutted out a hand to steer a Aaron Mooy's deep cross away from the six-yard box, thus generously affording Australia a penalty of their very own... Mile Jedinak made no mistake from the spot and restored parity for his side to breathe life back into the game.

Bert van Marwijk (Australia coach): "I'm proud and disappointed".


"His [Cunha] first decision was play on and I think unless it's really, really clear, he should leave the decision as it was", Leckie told The New Daily.

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.

"I hoped that maybe one time there would be a very honest referee, and in that moment, that he wouldn't go to the video screen", the Dutchman said after being asked about his reaction to seeing the referee rush to the touchline to consult footage the foul.

"A lucky goal", van Marwijk said.

"It's not the most important thing", Griezmann said.


"I did stress to make sure you feel that disappointment, but use it as fuel to make sure that we do the business in the coming games". A lot of moments they didn't know what to do any more.

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