Coming into this match, France seemed like a lock for the 3 points. Australia certainly the under dogs, who would look to steal a point to help them advance to the next round.
France came out hot the first 20 minutes and forced Australia deep into their own third. You could feel France building momentum. Only a matter of time before France score, is what it seemed like it. Australia sat deep and tight in midfield, fighting off France and forcing them to the sides. This left no space for Tolisso and Pogba of France to work in the middle of the field.
As the first half continued on, Australia grew more and more into the match. You could feel the Australian fans getting more excited as Aaron Mooy found himself more on the ball. Australia's game plan was simple, put men behind the ball and counter attack. It worked to the Socceroos advantage as they frustrated France. After France had its first 20 minutes of dominance, Australia looked the better and more organized of the two teams. Half time came and Australia could feel satisfied for keeping a clean sheet, Jedinak and Mooy working hard in midfield.
As the second half began, it was a similar chapter to the end of the second half. France continued to try and find space to operate, in the middle of the pitch, but constantly found themselves going side to side. The more the match continues, the more Australia grow in confidence. At one point, I asked myself if Paul Pogba had been substituted off.
Then, it happened, VAR made an appearance for the first time at The World Cup, in the 58th minute. Griezmann had been tripped up in the box, but play had continued. Upon further review the VAR official agreed for the Head Referee to take a look. Sure enough, Penalty.
All match long France gave away free kicks about 40 yards out, and just allowed Mooy to put in a good ball, time after time. After winning a freekick 3 minutes after the opening goal, Mooy sent in a free kick. Umtiti of France got caught out and put his arms up, hand ball in the box. Penalty for Australia. Jedinak steps up and hammers home. We are all tied up in a shocker. 1-1
When Deschamps changed his midfield around, and inserted Fekir and Matuidi, for Griezmann and Tolisso, respectively. It gave more options in the center of the pitch, to help outnumber the amount Australians in midfield. 2 minutes after Matuidi came on, Pogba moved forward and created an attack with one-two passes at the center of the 18 with Giroud. Pogba touched home a goal that was awarded by goal line technology, by the slimmest of margins. 2-1 France.
After the end of the match, Australia should not hang their head. They worked hard and kept France at bay, but World Class players find a way. France squeaked out 3 points, but they have a lot of questions going into the second round of matches. They need more creativity in midfield, that can break teams down like a number 10. Australia will be looking to get a much needed win, to help keep their chances alive of moving on.