Socceroos lose World Cup opener
BY JOSH KEMPTON
Australia started brightly but faded badly in their first game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, losing 4-1 to France at the Al Janoub stadium.
The Socceroos made the best possible start in the 9th minute, taking a shock lead with Craig Goodwin capitalising on some excellent work down the right wing by Matthew Leckie to score his 2nd goal for the national team.
The goal was Australia’s first from open play at the World Cup since 2014 and made Goodwin, the Adelaide United captain, the second player to score at the tournament while representing an A-League side.
The World Cup holders restored parity in the 27th minute, with midfielder Adrien Rabiot getting forward to head home a brilliant cross from fullback Theo Hernández, and then quickly followed up in the 31st minute, with Rabiot capitalising on a heavy touch from Nathaniel Atkinson to tee up Olivier Giroud for his 50th international goal.
Le Blues clicked into gear as the first half progressed but the Socceroos burned a big late chance, with Jackson Irvine glancing the woodwork with a header from a Goodwin cross.
The French dominance continued after the break, with superstar Kylian Mbappe, who tortured Atkinson throughout the game, getting a well deserved goal in the 68th minute before setting up Giroud’s second in the 71st minute to put the result beyond doubt.
Graham Arnold tried to change the complexion of the game with the introduction of attacking substitutes Jason Cummings, Garang Kuol, and Awer Mabil, but no second goal was forthcoming.
The numbers reflected the superiority of Didier Deschamps’ side, with France having 63% of possession and 23 shots at goal to Australia’s 3.
The Socceroos next assignment will come in the form of Tunisia, who drew 0-0 with Denmark on Monday night, in a primetime slot at 6pm AWST time on Saturday evening.
IMAGE: Yahoo Sport.