France downs courageous Socceroos at the death

France downs courageous Socceroos at the death

There was no clamour back home for France to patch up its (considerable) differences with Karim Benzema, who was guided to another Champions League title last month by a French-born manager, but is still so far out of the picture under Didier Deschamps that he's not considered.

France opened their World Cup campaign in Kazan on Saturday morning with a game against Australia.

"I'm 100 per cent, I wanted to continue", he said.

"Certainties tend to be blown away very quickly".

"He's changed a lot of things", said Deschamps. Even from looking at the VAR replay, plenty of observers had conflicting points of view.

Van Marwijk replaced Ange Postecoglou in January and has since helped instill a disciplined, attack-minded approach in a bid to achieve their objective of "surviving the first round".

But after that, they went quiet. It is well organised and they are highly disciplined.

Paul Pogba will star in the French national team at the World Cup.

Kylian Mbappe grabs at his ankle after a training mishap
Camera Icon Kylian Mbappe grabs at his ankle after a training

"There is no risk", he said. The way we wanted to play, they [Australian players] did it for 95 percent, so I cannot blame any of my players, I only can give them compliments. "They have the qualities to be there". In a friendly against the USMNT over the weekend, forward Olivier Giroud would suffer a nasty head injury. "We laughed", said the goalkeeper. Bert van Marwijk's men also showed great character to come back in the game and equalise.

"It would be a surprise", he admitted on the eve of their Kazan Arena clash.

To do that, the 38-year-old forward needs to score for the fourth consecutive World Cup.

France hasn't been this excited about a sensational teenager bullying defenders at this high level since Thierry Henry, but they have every right to make noise over Mbappe and the prospect of what he can do in Group C, and beyond.

But Hertha Berlin winger Leckie is backing van Marwijk's call to arms. We play as we train. They returned in 2006, when they beat Japan 3-1 despite being 0-1 down till the 84th minute.

"When you're well organised and you believe in something and everybody knows exactly from each other what to do and you have the guts to play and be yourself, then we have a chance".

If the coach had any doubts about the wisdom of playing a 19-year-old, Mbappe, and a 21-year-old, Dembele, when making a good start at the World Cup is so important, he was not betraying them on Friday.

More news: No racism concerns for Nigeria captain Mikel

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