The French squad debuted on Saturday in the World Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Australia, helped by the video assistant referee (VAR) technology and good fortune.
As predicted, France’s coach Didier Deschamps depended on a young squad, only three French players were above 25 years old, with Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Ousmane Dembele as the front forwards.
There were also no surprises in Bert van Marwijk’s Australia lineup, who tried to meet France with a classic 4-4-2 plan, staying solid in the rear while waiting for some miracle from star Aussie forward Andrew Nabbout.
Les Bleus struggled throughout the match to get past Van Marwijk’s defense line, while the Socceroos offered a strong game that made the match even for the most part, with the first half ending goalless.
The second half was another story, as it saw a penalty awarded using VAR which allowed Griezmann to score France’s first goal at the 58th-minute mark.
Les Bleus’ joy, however, was cut short as exactly four minutes later another penalty – this time without the help of VAR – allowed Australia’s midfielder Mile Jedinak to pull the Socceroos even to a tie.
From that point, the match that seemed to be headed towards a draw.
Then France was aided by good luck, as a semi-shot from French midfielder Paul Pogba entered the goal in the 80th minute and gave Les Bleus the victory.
France and Australia are in Group C in the World Cup and Les Bleus’ next opponent is to be Peru, while the Socceroos are set to face Denmark.