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France and Australia goalless at halftime

16 Juin 2018

France is coached by Didier Deschamps, who has received some criticism for how he has brought the national team along but ultimately France seems to be in a good spot entering their first tournament game.

Earlier this week the Socceroos boss hinted at his dilemma, warning his players they could not be overawed by facing some of the world's most celebrated players. We have a young group, but I do not see that as a risk.

Australia delivered a gritty display that bodes well for its next two matches. In their most recent friendly, Deschamps brought Giroud back into the lineup in a much less impressive 1-1 draw against the US men's national team that also saw Giroud get a nasty head injury. Their objective is drawing near.

Desailly suggested Deschamps' decision to leave Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette and Kingsley Coman out of his World Cup squad may have been based on performances at Euro 2016, where he felt they lacked experience. The Super Eagles, meanwhile, have a few great names starting with captain John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Paris Saint-Germain man said: "Paul is a creative player".

Sidibe is believed to be a first-choice defender alongside Benjamin Mendy, Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane.

Pogba had the last laugh as he bundled over an 80th minute goal in France's 2-1 win.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, still wearing a bandage around a recent head injury, had replaced Griezmann only minutes before playing a one-two with Paul Pogba on the edge of the area. Deschamps is set to go straight to his young stars, 19-year-old Kilian Mbappe and 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele, working together in front of Antoine Griezmann. Stretching the play and making the pitch big to create space for the forwards was always going to be important, but this team selection did not support that style of play.

"Youth is an excuse without being an excuse. Either you can, or you cannot".

France will also meet Peru and Denmark in the group period.

In the press conference the day before their team begins the tournament, the questions from the French media began and ended with queries about Griezmann. They come to make up the numbers. "I'm more interested in the substance", said Deschamps, usually a strong disciplinarian.

Midfielder Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield) and goalkeeper Mat Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion) played critical roles this season in maintaining their teams' English Premier League status.

"It's about controlling those emotions and being courageous enough to be yourself and try to play the football we need to".

Van Marwijk has challenged his players to have the belief they can cause a massive shock. But on one competition you never know what can happen. "No one expected us to play like this against France".

"It's certainly a very good thing for us", Deschamps added.

France and Australia goalless at halftime