Talking Points: 'Same old' France ride their luck against gritty Aussies
Written by: Rohan Philip
The French side weren't convincing throughout the match against the AFC representatives.
The first game of Group C at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, featuring France and Australia ended 2-1, with the French edging the tie in the latter stages when Paul Pogba’s deflected shot looped over the head of Matt Ryan, after Mile Jedinak drew the Socceroos level following Antoine Griezmann’s controversial penalty.
We take a look at five things we have learned from the game played at the Kazan Arena on Saturday.
Watch: France vs Austalia highlights
5. VAR is not conclusive
Antoine Griezmann put the French side ahead 12 minutes into the second half with a well-taken penalty. However, the decision is bound to be scrutinized by pundits and fans all over the world for the nature in which it was given. The referee reversed his call following consultation with the VAR, to award France the spot-kick. On careful observation, it is still unclear if Australia's Josh Risdon got a bit of the ball before clipping Griezmann, sending him sprawling. Definitely not “clear and obvious”.
4. Don’t count Australia out just yet
It was almost taken for granted that Australia would struggle to get out of the group, with France and Denmark looking the most likely candidates to proceed. Despite the loss, the Aussies can leave the arena with their heads held high, having given one of the tournament favourites a true run for their money.
3. France are a group of individuals and not a team
France may well have one of the most talented squads in the tournament. However, they lack the cohesion that comes with playing together for a few years. Too many wayward passes and mistimed runs made the French look a far worse side then they actually are.
Manager Didier Deschamps needs to find his best team and get them on the same wavelength if they are to have any hopes of victory. Djibril Sidibe’s return to the French side will add a spark to the team, which the out of position Benjamin Pavard could not provide.
2. Aaron Mooy is indispensable to Australia
The Huddersfield Town man stood up and was counted for his side against France by arguably being the best player on the pitch. Important tackles, incisive passes and dangerous free-kicks will make him instrumental to the Socceroos going forward in the tournament. If Mooy keeps up his level of performance, he could be looking at a move to a top European side very soon.
1. Griezmann needs to play in a two up top
Apart from the goal, Antoine Griezmann, the man touted to be the brightest of France’s star turns was largely invisible versus Australia. The Atletico Madrid man was replaced by Olivier Giroud who had an almost instant impact.
Griezmann is highly effective when he plays in a two up top as he does for his club, where he scored 29 goals while he partnered Diego Costa. Deschamps would do well to partner Griezmann with Giroud going forward in the tournament.
France will face Peru in their next fixture on 21st of June.
Published: Sat Jun 16, 2018 07:44 PM IST