There were no surprises in both teams’ starting lineups and there wasn’t really anything interesting in the first half. France started strong with a few shots on goal but Ryan was well positioned and stopped them. It seemed like France was slow in the build up later on and that the 4-3-3 formation will probably be replaced by 4-4-2 in a next game against similar opponent. The midfielders touched the ball one too many times and when they passed the ball to Dembele, Griezmann and Mbappe they were already covered by Australian defenders
Aaron Moy had a great game in the midfield orchestrating his team’s play from the back. It was again confirmed that van Marwijk is a master when it comes to organizing the defensive plays. Australia didn’t have any chances in the whole game but defended well against one of the best attacking teams in the world. Mbappe and Dembele were neutralized by the collective defending in the first half.
In the second half VAR was for first time deciding for a penalty in the history of the World Cups. Firstly, the Uruguayan referee didn’t see that Griezmann was indeed fouled in the box, but after replaying he corrected his decision and awarded the French with a penalty which was converted by the Atletico forward.
Umtiti then made a huge mistake by putting his hand above his head when Australia had a free-kick. It really was something that has never happened to the young central back from Barcelona. The Uruguayan referee didn’t even need the VAR to see that and Australia’s captain Mile Jedinak converted from the spot. Tom Rogic was quiet the whole game despite of some small nice plays and was replaced by Irvine in the 72nd minute.
In the meantime Dembele was replaced by Fekir and Giroud replaced Griezmann. The Frenchmen tried to find Giroud in the box as they played in a formation of 4-4-2. These were the best minutes of France in this game and they resulted in a Pogba goal in the 81st minute. Pogba’s goal wasn’t anything spectacular, actually it was kind of weird goal but it did the job. This game was from the future because again the technology decided that it was a goal. This time it was the goal-line technology.
Van Marwijk tried to get his team back in the game by putting the creative midfielder Arzani in but it didn’t work out at the end.
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, L. Hernandez; Tolisso (Matuidi), Kante, Pogba; Dembele (Fekir), Griezmann (Giroud), Mbappe.
Ryan; Risdon, Sainsbury, Milligan, Behich; Jedinak, Mooy, Rogic (Irvine), Kruse (Arsani), Leckie; Nabbout (Juric).
France will need some restructuring in the midfield for the next two games as these players proved that they need an additional playmaker. Payet could have been that 4th midfielder but he didn’t have luck with injuries and was eventually left out. What’s most important is that they got the 3 points and can think about the next game. Australia proved that they can compete against the very best and will be serious rivals to Denmark and Peru for the second spot of the group. VAR also proved to be great in this game and we had a chance to see how a game from the future would look like.