Socceroos under fire over 'unforgivable' act in loss at World Cup
The Socceroos have been savaged for their performance against France at the FIFA World Cup after the Aussies went down 4-1 despite a stunning early goal. Craig Goodwin gave Australia an extraordinary early lead in the ninth minute, before the Socceroos were swamped by a brutal French display.
Veteran French forward Olivier Giroud netted twice, while Adrien Rabiot and mega-star Kylian Mbappe also scored against the outclassed Socceroos. Australia could have gone 2-0 up in the 22nd minute when a flying Mitch Duke 20-metre shot just flew post the right post.
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But five minutes later, the tide turned towards France. Rabiot scored with a close-range header from a perfectly weighted ball from substitute Theo Hernandez, who replaced his injured older brother.
Five minutes later, Giroud put his side up 2-1 after a blunder from Australian right-back Nathaniel Atkinson - one of six Socceroos on debut in Doha at the World Cup finals. Atkinson failed to control a routine Jackson Irvine pass and was dispossessed in an instant by Rabiot and the ball rolled to the brilliant Mbappe. With an audacious back-heel, he returned possession to Rabiot, who in turn found Giroud unmarked metres from goal.
Socceroos legend Mark Bosnich said the first-half goals were “completely avoidable”, while Daniel Garb wrote on Twitter that the second goal was an “unforgivable error” from Australia.
"Could have been a lot worse. Perhaps should have. Last ditch/scramble defending was pretty good but just can’t stop it getting to that point. One paced in midfield," Garb tweeted after the game.
Former England striker Chris Sutton said on BBC commentary: “Well talk about shooting yourselves in the foot, that is exactly what Australia do. They are careless in possession and Olivier Giroud is not going to miss from there”.
What a half. Could be 4-1 down, could be 2-2.
What a goal and moment to go ahead against the French but lost our defensive bearings for the equaliser and then an unforgivable error for the 2nd.
Souttar excellent so far but it’s too frail defensively around him. #FRAAUS
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) November 22, 2022
now it's #Australia's turn to screw up -- can't do that against #France. Giroud gets an easy #Qatar2022 goal. #FRAAUS 2-1. This game's back as normal service restored.
— Rahul Vaidyanath (@RV_ETSports) November 22, 2022
Sure Mbappe is good on the ball but Nathaniel Atkinson played for Riverside Olympic in Launceston so he's seen this all before
— Angus Livingston (@anguslivingston) November 22, 2022
It was such a good start and then we’ve just let them hold onto the ball with too little pressure.
Then, when you make a mistake the best players in the world inevitably punish you. Feel for Nathaniel Atkinson though.
— Tom Williams (@TomWilliamsPol) November 22, 2022
Socceroos regroup after thrashing against France
After the break, the French rout was completed with accurate headers from the brilliant Mbappe in the 68th minute. Just three minutes later Giroud equalled Thierry Henry's record for most goals for France - 51.
"Look at the end of the day, they're a quality side and they're world champions for a reason," Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said pitch-side. "I thought the first half we did well. Second half, we ran out of legs a bit, but that's the type of level that those players play at.
"We will pick the boys up for sure (ahead of facing Tunisia on Saturday). They should be proud of their commitment, their effort that they gave, but again, they are the world champions for a reason."
Goodwin's ninth-minute goal was from Australia's top shelf, with the Adelaide United captain scoring from a stunning fast-break. Harry Souttar's laser long ball from defence was collected by Mathew Leckie on the right flank and he cut inside French defender Lucas Hernandez.
The Frenchman's right knee buckled as Leckie arrowed across the face of goal to Goodwin who scored to put the Socceroos on top of the world champions. However the joy didn't last long for Australia as France showed why they are the world champions.
The Socceroos next meet Tunisia (Saturday 9pm AEDT), with Denmark (December 1, 2am AEDT) to follow. Tunisia and Denmark earlier played out a scoreless draw in the opening game of Group D.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is on SBS and SBS on Demand.
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