Didier Deschamps will not have been thrilled by his side's performance, but they managed to achieve the win without being anywhere near their best. Australia put forward a solid effort that will hand them confidence for their remaining Group B matches, atlhough they'll need to improve in the final third.
It was far from pretty, but France are off the mark with a win to start their World Cup campaign. Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba were enough to secure the victory, despite Mile Jedinak's leveller from the spot. Les Bleus made history when they were awarded a penalty decision via VAR after Griezmann was fouled by Josh Risdon before duly converting. A horrendous error from Samuel Umtiti allowed Jedinak to equalise from 12 yards. However, Pogba won the game for his team as his looped shot struck the underside of the bar before crossing the line, with the decision being aided once again by technology.
FULL-TIME: FRANCE 2 AUSTRALIA 1
90+5 mins: Jedinak leaps to make contact, but he cannot force the ball goalwards. France clear the danger on the edge of the box.
Pogba is fouled as he takes time off the clock. That should be it for Les Bleus.
90+4 mins: Mooy lifts a cross into the box which forces Pavard to clear out for a throw-in. Behich will throw the ball long into the box.
90+2 mins: Ryan is put under pressure by Milligan at the back, but the keeper manages to clear his lines. Australia need to get the ball up the pitch.
90 mins: Mbappe coasts into space down the left inside channel and Ryan comes to meet him as the last line of resistance. He manages to force the forward away from goal. Mbappe's cross to Fekir lacks pace and allows Ryan to get back in his goal. Pogba collects on the edge of the box, but is closed down before he can shoot.
There will be five minutes of added time.
88 mins: BLOCK! Fekir goes for goal as he smashes his effort from the free-kick towards the target, but his strike clatters into the legs of the Australia wall.
86 mins: Behich loses out to Fekir and he's forced to foul the France forward to stop him driving forward into the box, picking up a yellow card as a result. The Socceroos are just losing their composure here.
84 mins: Arzani replaces Kruse for Australia, who are in dire need of an instant impact off the bench.
82 mins: France go for kill down the left flank, but Mbappe's cutback into the box is cleared ahead of Giroud by Milligan.
80 mins: GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! POGBA PUTS FRANCE AHEAD!!! 2-1!!!! Les Bleus needed one of their key players to shine and Pogba delivers with lofted finish over Ryan. The midfielder combined with Giroud before stabbing an effort towards the net. It looped over Ryan, hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing over the line. It came out of the goal, but the technology on the referee's watch allowed the official to immediately award the goal.
Giroud knocked the ball into the path of Pogba, who provided the finish with the aid of the bar.
79 mins: France need one of their big-name players to come to the fore here. Les Bleus have been stagnant in the final third.
78 mins: Mooy takes a short free-kick that allows Risdon to raid into space down the right, but his low cross is blocked by Hernandez.
77 mins: Mooy takes a short free-kick that allows Risdon to raid into space down the right, but his low cross is blocked by Hernandez.
76 mins: Tolisso brings down Juric on the charge, earning himself a booking and taking one for the team as the forward would have been away there.
75 mins: Pogba leads a counter for France, but they are unable to threaten in the final third as Fekir and Giroud are not on the same page.
74 mins: Leckie makes good progress down the right flank, but he cannot complete his offload back to Risdon for the cross. Composure will be key for the Socceroos in the closing stages.
72 mins: OVER! France win a corner on the left and the delivery from Fekir is cleared as far as Pavard on the edge of the box. He goes for the spectacular on the volley, but can only direct his effort over the bar.
SUB! Irvine replaces Rogic, who has racked up the miles for Australia in the middle of the park.
70 mins: SUBS! Big call from Deschamps as he withdraws Griezmann for Giroud! Dembele also makes way for Fekir. The winger had been underwhelming in the contest, so this decision makes more sense from Deschamps.
68 mins: Australia were stunned by France's opener and the manner in which the penalty was awarded. However, they've capitalised on their lifeline and are playing with the vigour of the opening 54 minutes once again.
67 mins: Leckie's pass back to Ryan almost allows Mbappe in to steal the ball. However, the keeper gets there just in time to clear his lines.
65 mins: Jedinak's goal for Australia from the penalty spot was their first shot on target in this match.
64 mins: SUB! Nabbout has put in a good shift this afternoon and now makes way for Juric.
62 mins: GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! JEDINAK EQUALISES!!! AUSTRALIA ARE LEVEL AT 1-1!!! Game on in Kazan as Jedinak calmly slots his effort into the back of the net. Much like Griezmann, the Australia captain was as cool as a cucumber, sliding his effort past Lloris into the net. Two good penalties and we're back to all square in the contest.
61 mins: PENALTY TO AUSTRALIA! Mooy lifts a free-kick into the box and Umtiti, for reasons known only to him, handles the ball in the air. It's clumsy from the defender and he has gifted a chance for Australia to get back into the game.
59 mins: France break forward through Mbappe and he cuts the ball back from the inside left channel towards Griezmann. However, the forward's effort is blocked by a wall of yellow shirts before he scuffs his second effort on the rebound.
58 mins: GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! GRIEZMANN CONVERTS! 1-0 FRANCE!! The forward scores from the spot as he slams his penalty into the net from 12 yards. It was complete confidence from Griezmann as he hammered his strike past Ryan, with the keeper not moving a muscle.
57 mins: Risdon is booked for his challenge on Griezmann. Like it or not, it looks to be the correct decision.
56 mins: VAR REVIEW! We have our first VAR review of the tournament and it goes the way of France. The referee overturns his decision and awards a penalty to Les Bleus for Risdon's challenge on Griezmann.
54 mins: TACKLE! Risdon has to get his challenge spot on to deny Griezmann on the charge. Pogba's throughball released the forward, but the covering challenge prevented the attack.
53 mins: Australia have space down the right to attack. Risdon makes a rare foray forward and cuts the ball back into the middle. Nabbout and Umtiti battle for it in the box, but it falls fortunately for the France defender to clear his lines.
51 mins: Dembele cuts in from the right flank onto his left foot and tries to pick out Hernandez, but his offload just has too much pace for the full-back to reach.
49 mins: Surprisingly Hernandez is down on the deck after colliding with Leckie in the air. Once again a lot of jeers emerge from the Australia fans.
47 mins: Australia have been playing out from the back and in the first half France applied little to no pressure in the Socceroos' half. Already in the second, Mbappe closes down Sainsbury to force a mistake.
46 mins: We're back underway in Kazan!
Didier Deschamps did not seem overly concerned by his side's struggles in the first half. He has plenty of talent on the bench at his disposal and there may come a time when he opts to withdraw either N'Golo Kante or Tolisso to add another attacking player into the final third. Australia just need to maintain their discipline at the back and capitalise on their chances when presented with space.
It's all square at the break in the opening Group C match between France and Australia. Les Bleus came into the contest with a great deal of firepower, but it has not played out that way as their front-line has struggled in the opening 45 minutes. Their best opening came courtesy of Kylian Mbappe in the second minute when his shot was saved by Mat Ryan. Other than that, Australia have been comfortable and had the best chance of the game when Coretin Tolisso almost turned the ball into his own net. The Socceroos look quite comfortable, despite the pedigree of the France attack.
HALF-TIME: FRANCE 0-0 AUSTRALIA
45 mins: WIDE! Behich drives into space down the left and sees his cross into the box turned away by Varane. He collects the follow-up and goes for goal, only to place his right-footed strike wide of the target.
There will be one minute of added time.
44 mins: Griezmann runs off the back of Sainsbury and attempts to latch on to Dembele's cross from the right flank. Sainsbury manages to stick out a boot to divert the delivery away from the forward before clearing the danger.
43 mins: Dembele peels off into space on the left flank and tries to beat the attention of Behich. However, the defender holds firm to make the challenge.
42 mins: Australia are combative as Griezmann and Mbappe look for space in the final third, and the Socceroos quell another probe from France through the middle.
41 mins: France are looking short of ideas in the final third. Pogba has not had the best start to the tournament.
39 mins: Nabbout chases down a long ball and collides with Hernandez on covering duty. The full-back wins the free-kick as he falls to the ground with a scream. However, the crowd inside the stadium are not thrilled with his reaction.
37 mins: Mbappe and Dembele have switched flanks, but it has not yielded an improvement for Les Bleus.
36 mins: Mooy makes a mistake with an attempted pass as Mbappe makes the interception. However, the Huddersfield man atones for his error with a precise challenge before clearing into touch.
34 mins: Pogba takes the resulting corner, but he lifts his delivery straight into the grasp of Ryan at the near post. A poor cross from the midfielder.
33 mins: France up the ante to create space down the left flank. Pogba slides a pass to Hernandez for the strike. It looks to be heading off target, but Milligan makes sure it heads wide, clearing for a corner.
32 mins: Griezmann collects the ball in a deeper position and tries to thread a pass through to Dembele in the right inside channel. Milligan reads the danger and slides to make the interception. The Australia centre-backs have been excellent so far.
31 mins: Griezmann almost has control of the ball in the France box. His first touch is just a little bit off and it allows Sainsbury to close and make the intervention.
30 mins: Rogic moves through the France midfield, but Kante makes a good tackle to stop his progress just before he can offload on the edge of the box.
29 mins: Lloris makes the decision to come for the cross and he makes the claim ahead of Milligan at the back post. Good work from the France keeper.
Hernandez goes on the surge down the left flank, but Sainsbury makes a strong challenge to stop his run on the byline. The tackle is so hard that it bursts the ball!
28 mins: Leckie goes down under pressure from Pogba and it will allow Mooy to swing another cross into the box from the free-kick.
26 mins: After a good start to the contest, Mbappe has not been active since the fifth minute of the game. The Socceroos look quite comfortable at the back.
24 mins: A long ball over the top has Griezmann interested, but Sainsbury sticks out a leg and diverts it back into the grasp of Ryan, who makes the grab ahead of the France forward.
23 mins: Dembele makes an interception and charges down the left flank. He squares up Sainsbury, but then gets bundled off the ball with a strong shoulder.
22 mins: Australia are starting to grow in confidence and are knocking the ball nicely around the middle of park. They will not mind dropping the tempo to cope with the speed of the French attack.
20 mins: The referee has been quick on the whistle so far in the match and he does so once again to blow as Tolisso and Jedinak battle in the air. France get the free-kick inside their own half.
19 mins: Umtiti earns the first jeer of the match from the crowd inside the Kazan Arena for going down rather easily against Leckie.
18 mins: CLOSE! Mooy sends a pinpoint delivery into the box that is flicked on by Sainsbury. It catches the outstretched leg of Tolisso and travels towards the bottom corner. Lloris has to get to make the stop and the keeper manages to turn the ball past the post.
17 mins: Ryan has already made four saves for Australia in this game; more than any other goalkeeper in the 2018 World Cup so far.
Pavard charges into the back of Kruse and Australia are awarded another free-kick down the left flank.
16 mins: Pogba searches for a first-time ball over the top for Mbappe, but the ball just speeds off the pitch away from the forward and into the hands of Ryan.
15 mins: Australia hold firm at the back from the free-kick as Mooy heads behind for a corner. France attempt to probe from the set-piece, but once again Van Marwijk's men are able to clear.
13 mins: Hernandez is brought down for the second time of the match as Leckie makes a late challenge, picking up a yellow card. France have another free-kick on the left flank.
12 mins: OVER! Mooy curls the delivery in from the left flank and Leckie attempts to guide the ball, only to direct his header over the bar.
11 mins: Behich drives down the left flank and tries to feed the run of Kruse. The winger gets pulled back by Pavard and the referee awards the free-kick to the Socceroos.
10 mins: Varane floats the ball over the top for Griezmann to nudge into the path of Mbappe. However, the ball just has too much pace on it, running away from the forward into the hands of Ryan.
8 mins: Mbappe curls the ball into the box looking for Griezmann at the near post. The Atletico Madrid forward makes contact with his header, but the pace is take off the ball by Sainsbury, allowing Ryan to gather with ease.
7 mins: Risdon catches Hernandez late on the flank and the referee awards a free-kick to Les Bleus. Mbappe stands over the set-piece on this occasion.
6 mins: France break forward down the left through Dembele. The ball is worked across the edge of the box before Griezmann lets fly with a shot on the half-volley on his right. It's on target, but Ryan gets down to make the stop.
5 mins: SAVE! Pogba curls his effort over the wall, but it's at a comfortable height and pace for Ryan to make the simple stop.
4 mins: Mbappe is brought down by Milligan 30 yards from goal. Pogba seizes the ball to take the resulting free-kick.
2 mins: SAVE! Ryan is called into action immediately as Mbappe breaks in behind the Australia backline in the right inside channel. He fires a strike towards the near post, but the keeper turns it behind for a corner.
1 min: We're underway in Kazan!
HERE WE GO...
The teams are out on the pitch. It's time for the anthems.
France have topped their group only twice in their last nine World Cup appearances (1998, 2014). In fact, they’ve won only three of their last 12 group games (D5 L4), it came against Togo, Honduras and Switzerland.
The record between France and Australia on neutral ground is perfectly balanced with a 1-0 win each (for France in Japan in May 1994 and for Australia in South Korea in June 2001). Their last encounter ended in a 6-0 win for Les Bleus in Paris, including a brace by Olivier Giroud.
Bert van Marwijk has made just one change from his side's win over Hungary last time out. It comes in the middle of the park where Jedinak replaces Luongo, with the experience of the Aston Villa man utilised in front of the back four.
Australia subs: Milos Degenek, James Meredith, Tim Cahill, Matthew Jurman, Massimo Luongo, Tomi Juric, Brad Jones, Jamie Maclaren, Daniel Arzani, Danny Vukovic, Dimitri Petratos, Jackson Irvine.
AUSTRALIA (4-4-1-1): Mat Ryan; Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Miligan, Aziz Behich; Matthew Leckie, Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Robbie Kruse; Tomas Rogic, Andrew Nabbout.
France subs: Presnel Kimpembe, Thomas Lemar, Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N'Zonzi, Steve Mandanda, Adil Rami, Nabil Fekir, Djibril Sidibe, Florian Thauvin, Benjamin Mendy, Alphonse Areola.
FRANCE (4-3-3): Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Corentin Tolisso, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele.
Portugal and Spain served up a classic last night in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Hopefully the matches today prove to be equally entertaining.
Australia have the quality in their squad to defy France today. The Socceroos overcame Czech Republic and Hungary in their two warm-up matches and will be looking to take their momentum into their opening Group C match.
France have been deemed one of the favourites for the tournament and will be keen to make a strong start in their opening match. Les Bleus performed well during their warm-up matches against the Republic of Ireland and Italy, although in their last outing they were held to a 1-1 draw by the United States. Didier Deschamps' men will have be flawless throughout to win their second World crown, starting in Kazan.
30 mins until KO: Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the Group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Squads & Team News
With such a deep squad, France's starting line-up was always going to be contain some surprising omissions. Against the Socceroos today, Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard have been selected at full-back, ahead of supposed first-choice players Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe. The back-ups shone in their recent friendly games, and perhaps Deschamps is using this game - France's easiest on paper - to decide which players deserve to start going forward in the tournament.
Additionally, having trialled various forms of 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 in the warm-up games, the France boss has elected to go for the former today, and has chosen Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe in support of star man Antoine Griezmann, who recently announced his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid. Reported Atletico target Lemar and former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud miss out as a result, while Correntin Tolisso's strong performances have earned him a start ahead of the more experienced Blaise Matuidi.
Confirmed Australia starting XI: Ryan; Behich, Milligan, Sainsbury, Risdon; Kruse, Mooy, Jedinak, Leckie; Rogic; Nabbout.
Australia subs: Degenek, Meredith, Cahill, Jurman, Luongo, Juric, Jones, Maclaren, Arzani, Vukovic, Petratos, Irvine
Confirmed France starting XI: Lloris; Hernandez, Umtiti, Varane, Pavard; Pogba, Kante, Tolisso; Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele.
France subs: Kimpembe, Lemar, Giroud, Matuidi, N'Zonzi, Mandanda, Rami, Fekir, Sidibe, Thauvin, Mendy, Areola
TV Channel & Live Stream
In Australia, the match will be televised exclusively by SBS with live streams available via SBS and Optus Sport.
Optus Sport have the rights to every single World Cup game and a month's subscription is available for $14.99 .
|AUS TV channel||Online stream|
|SBS||SBS / Optus Sport|
FRANCE (4-3-3): Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Corentin Tolisso, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele.
Griezmann runs off the back of Sainsbury and attempts to latch on to Dembele's cross from the right flank. Sainsbury manages to stick out a boot to divert the delivery away from the forward before clearing the danger.