Sub-par France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C opener

Sub-par France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C opener

- France fielded the youngest first XI since 1930

- Paul Pogba's winner means that France go top of Group C ahead of the Peru-Denmark game.

Les Bleues ensured that they went top of top of group C after beating Australia by two goals to one at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The match in Kazan saw France play another unbeaten game since 2016 loss to Portugal.

The game started on a rather dull note with France shading possession but not creating much. A front three of Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele tried all they could to upset the Australia defence.

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The four shots on target that France attempted in the first half did not trouble Aussie goalkeeper Matt Ryan. It was the Socceroos who came close to scoring in about the 30th minute when Andrew Nabbout chased down France defender Samuel Umtiti.

Sub-par France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C opener

Antoine Griezmann put France ahead from the penalty spot. Photo credit: Getty Images

Umtiti clearance was goal bound and until his goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was called into action. France fielded their youngest ever World Cup line-up since 1930. And the inexperience of Corentin Tolisso at this stage was showing.

The first half ended goalless.

In the secind half, France to pass the ball a bit quicker. Paul Pogba and Corentin Tolisso were finding the space in the midfield to pick out the forward runs of France's attackers. In the 58th minute the tactic paid off.

After consulting the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), Uruguayan referee ruled that Aussie defender Josh Risdon had fouled Antoine Griezmann. The French attacker was first to the ball when Pogba played an incisive through pass from midfield.

Sub-par France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C opener

Australia captain Mile Jedinak levveled things up in the 58th minute. Photo credit: Getty Images

Griezmann cooly converted the penalty.

Against the run of play in the 62nd minute, Australia had a penalty. The referee correctly judged Umtiti's hand to have hit a cross from Socceroos winger Matthew Leckie.

The resulting penalty was scored by Crystal Palace midfield Mile Jedinak who sent Lloris the wrong way.

Australia upped the tempo after they equalised. France were clearly lacking inspiration and the Australians did not mind. They won 50-50 balls in the middle of the pitch and sent men forward.

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France coach Didier Deschamps called on Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir to replace Griezmann and Dembele in the 70th minute. The Barcelona winger in particular had a very poor afternoon.

In the 80th minute, Pogba's wall passing Giroud got France's winner as the Man United midfielder hoofed a volley that hit the underside of the bar. Goal line technology ruled that the ball crossed the line.

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Tried as they did, Australia could not draw level terms this time. Not even the pressure of the last 10 minutes did much to trouble France.

Descahmps will be happy with results especially since France's performance was below par. Meanwhile, the group's other game sees Denmark taking on Peru later on Saturday.

Fifa 2018 Most Powerful Teams: Football Team Ranking For The FIFA World Cup:

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