France vs Australia, HT report: Socceroos weathers French storm to keep match scoreless

Mat Ryan was more than busy in the Australia goal, but his distribution and calm exterior helped his team keep the goal-hungry French forward line at bay.

France forward Kylian Mbappe. (file photo)   -  Getty Images

Australia more than held its own in the first half of its World Cup opener against a star-studded French team deployed in a 4-3-3 formation with the pacey Kylian Mbappe-Ousmane Dembele-Antoine Griezmann triumvirate up front.

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Minutes from kick-off, Mbappe, playing on the right, was released in behind Australia's backline and the 19-year-old forward had a shot on goal trying to beat the Australia goalkeeper at his near post, Mat Ryan parrying the shot away calmly.

Australia had to weather the early storm with the Les Bleus completely dominant in the first 10 minutes. Paul Pogba had a presentable free-kick chance from 25 yards out and a quality strike was straight down the middle of the goal, Ryan collecting it calmly.

The Socceroos began to grow into the match after an anxious opening. The second free-kick it won, on the left-hand-side of the goal, and taken by Aaron Mooy nearly gave it the breakthrough: Mooy's well-directed delivery took a ricochet off the French defenders in the box and was headed for the left bottom corner. Hugo Lloris had to dive to his left to parry the ball away for a corner.

French remained a menace almost every time it got into the Australia half. Towards the end of the first half, left-back Lucas Hernandez had a great opportunity to break the stalemate, from the left-hand-side of the goal. His left-footed attempt was blocked in the six-yard box.

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