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What France learned against Australia on their way to World Cup glory

12:22 PM MYT 16/07/2018
France Australia World Cup
The green and gold set the Les Bleus on their way after frustrating the French

France have claimed their second World Cup after a 4-2 win over Croatia in the 2018 final with their road to glory beginning a month before in Kazan against Australia.

While the Les Bleus escaped from the match with a 2-1 win, the Socceroos gave them an early test with a Mile Jedinak penalty bringing the two sides level before a late own goal from Aziz Behich.

Though Didier Deschamps will deny it, the match was one of experimentation for the French and its results would lay the foundations for things to come.

Against Australia, France were deployed in a more attacking 4-3-3 formation with wingers Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe both given a licence to roam up front as Antoine Griezmann lead the line.

It was a bold move but one that failed to pay dividends with the Socceroos able to stop the French from cutting in and largely nullify Griezmann.

The French ultimately relying on a VAR penalty and an own goal to claim victory, with Australia left to rue what could have been.

For Deschamps, the performance was far more important than the result with the coach taking careful note of what didn't work in Kazan as he looked to guide his side to the World Cup.

Just days later against Peru, the 4-3-3 formation was gone, replaced by a 4-3-2-1 as Olivier Giroud lead the line with Blaise Matuidi and Griezmann in behind.

That shift allowed Mbappe to play further back, go looking for the ball and make the most of his blistering speed.

While the Les Bleus were far from impressive in the proceeding two group games, they had ironed out the kinks that gave the Socceroos some hope of an upset.

They learned how to sit back more comfortably, realising this wasn't going to be a World Cup won by possession-based football. 

The French in fact boasted just 36 percent possession against Belgium and 34 percent against Croatia, but still found a way to win both.

Though failing to issue a shot on target, Giroud played his part in that success with Griezmann benefiting from the extra freedom the striker's presence afforded him.

France were at their clinical best against Croatia in the final, scoring four goals with just seven shots. 

A far cry from the two strikes they conjured up against Australia after 12 shots, with the Socceroos showing the Les Bleus a change of direction was needed early on their route to a famous World Cup win.