In front of over 40,000 spectators at Al Janoub Stadium, the reigning champions, France, faced off against Australia in the first match of their respective groups. This match was quite similar to the one that France and Australia played in Kazan, Russia in 2018.
After falling asleep early and being smacked for it by the Socceroos, who had laid out a clear gameplan of locking their defenses and pouncing on their opponent’s mistake, the beast within the French woke up and, barring a couple of un-punished blemishes, tormented the Australians to emerge victorious with a score of 4-1. The Socceroos had laid out a clear gameplan of locking their defenses and pouncing on their opponent
After withstanding the first onslaught of pressure from France, Australia took the lead in the ninth minute on the strength of a fluid play that was initiated from the defensive position by Harry Souttar and completed by Craig Goodwin.
Theo Hernández displayed his skill in France’s much-needed equalizer in the 27th minute by creating a frisbee of a cross that was despatched with power by Adrien Rabiot. This goal brought France level with its opponent.
Shortly after that, Rabiot became Olivier Giroud’s presser, ball-snatcher, and supplier for the opening goal of the game. During the second half, Les Bleus made the decision to create havoc on an Australia team that had become more quiet.
Kylian Mbappé got his name on the scoreboard for the first time in the 68th minute when he and his fellow French winger collaborated for France’s third goal in the 68th minute.
Mbappé and his teammates showed their might once again inside a period of three minutes, as the number 10 waved his foot-wand and assisted Giroud for the striker’s international goal number 51 and France’s fourth goal.
There are still wings attached to France
This match was a good time to remind the world that the French (still) have wings, and they make them fly high. Much of the talk has focused on the midfield of Les Bleus, or the lack of it, as well as Karim Benzema’s injury. However, this match was a good time to remind the world that the French (still) have wings.
Throughout the whole of the match, Ousmane Dembélé and Mbappé caused havoc on either wing for the wide defenders of the Socceroos. Just ask right back Nathaniel Atkinson, who spent the whole game trying to dance to the beat of the PSG frontman but failed spectacularly.
Both Dembélé and Mbappé contributed to the team’s scoring, combining for one goal, two assists, six critical passes, and eight dribbles.
Griezmann, who regularly moved to a position that put him deep in the center of the field, played an important part as well. He was the connecting connection that freed and unleashed the ability of the French wide men, particularly Theo Hernández. Specifically, he was the connecting link. Griezmann was the squad member that completed the most amount of crucial passes (6).
The fullback position The unanticipated inclusion of Theo Hernández in lieu of his brother proved to be a blessing in disguise as he shown a greater drive to come forward and complement Mbappe on the left wing of the field.
The fact that Kingsley Coman, who is a world-class wide forward in his own right, sits on the bench for France gives them a safety net in the wide positions and further strengthens the wing capabilities of Les Bleus.
Giroud, who is now tied for second place on France’s all-time scoring list, is maturing into a magnificent wine.
Giroud was a key component of the machine that won the most recent World Cup, but he did not contribute to the team’s goal-scoring success. That error was rectified by him today. Poacher-like, the player with the number 9 jersey scored two goals.
The first one was perhaps the easiest tap-in of his lifetime, and the second one involved a long leap, impressively strong core muscles, and a perfect header that came in off the inside post. Giroud has now become the oldest French player to feature in a World Cup game (36 years and 53 days), as well as the country’s all-time joint-highest goal-scorer (51) along with Thierry Henry. He is also the oldest player to score in a World Cup game.
Giroud has been a silently consistent and reassuring presence in Didier Deschamps’ era as the head coach of France. Despite being undervalued and often perceived as a lesser forward than many of his fellow teammates, not the least of whom is the now-injured Karim Benzema, Giroud has been a key member of the French national team. Putting in his shifts, keeping the clock running, and now he stands highest on France’s tallest tower with the player who is probably their best. He has realized the goal of social mobility that so many diligent workers strive for.
There will always be doubts about France’s ability to maintain defensive cohesiveness.
In the end, it was a resounding victory for Deschamps’ team, but it is also important to note that the Socceroos, given their footballing abilities and resources, sat deep and focused on protecting what was theirs rather than attempting to rip open the French. This was understandable behavior on the part of the Socceroos, and it is one of the reasons why the French won. Their xG value of 0.47 is conclusive evidence of the claim.
However, there were times throughout the game when mistakes were made, such as Benjamin Pavard’s lack of positional awareness that led to the opening goal, Hernández’s clumsy ball in his own half, and Jackson Irvine hitting the post just before halftime, amongst other instances. The frequency with which Les Bleus lose possession of the ball in the midfield during the first half may be a source of concern in general.
Because France does not have a lot of alternatives in the middle of the field, switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation to maximize Les Bleus’ offensive possibilities while restricting their midfield ones made sense in this matchup and worked out quite well. However, the judgement on this system is still being deliberated as we wait to see how it performs against opponents who are able to pose more difficult problems to the French team from their midfield and backline positions.