3 things that went wrong for Australia against France
Australia were undone by France in Group C's opening fixture at the Kazan Arena. The Socceroos faced heartbreak after an inspiring performance in the first-half which saw them suffocate France with their rigidity at the back. However, the second 45 paved way for controversy and drama of the highest order as Les Bleus took the lead through Antoine Griezmann after they were awarded a penalty following the intervention of VAR.
Bert van Marwijk's side did not lose heart and were handed a lifeline just minutes afterwards in the 62nd, when Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti made an absurd decision to handle the ball inside the penalty area from an inviting delivery. Mile Jedinak made no mistake from the spot and restored parity for his side to breathe life back into the game.
Despite winning many hearts with their resolute performance against one of the tournament's hot favourites, Australia finally succumbed to the pressure in the 80th minute when Paul Pogba's toe-poke finish took a wicked deflection on its way to the crossbar and landed just over the line, denying Matt Ryan any hopes of stopping it.
Without further ado, let's take a look at a few things that went wrong for Australia on the afternoon:
#3 Eventually succumbing to the French onslaught
The two teams came into this game with contrasting ambitions to say the least. France were considered to be one of the best bets to win this summer's tournament, having won their qualifying group en-route to Russia while the Socceroos booked their tickets after beating Honduras in an intercontinental play-off game.
On paper there was only ever one winner but Australia did not let that faze them, producing a stunning collective display to keep Didier Deschamps' men at bay in the first-half after an early attacking flurry. This was thanks to some resilient defending from Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan in particular at the back.
However, the second-half saw Les Bleus push further forward and they managed to achieve what all champions do in the end, get over the line during a frustrating outing like this one proved to be.
Credit where its due, Australia can take inspiration from their display for the group games to come but despite getting themselves back on level terms after the hour mark, they will be disappointed to have succumbed to the pressure created by France in the final 20 minutes of the game.
In a tournament of such magnitude, you cannot afford to fall asleep - not even for a second!