Socceroos will find their pace: Kruse

Ben McKay
The Socceroos must renew their focus on starting sharply when they face France, Robbie Kruse says

Forward Robbie Kruse insists the penny will drop soon for the Socceroos, who have been guilty of two slow starts in their pre-World Cup friendlies.

A third would spell disaster given the quality of France, their first-up opponents in the Russian city of Kazan on Saturday night.

Against the Czech Republic last week, Australia was off the pace early before finding their rhythm, romping to a 4-0 success.

They were similarly disjointed in Budapest on Saturday night, but this time the fluency never really arrived.

Daniel Arzani's star intervention helped the Socceroos eke out a 2-1 result at the Groupama Arena but there was no hiding the below-par performance.

Kruse, a veteran of 64 international caps but set to play at his first World Cup, said there needed to be a renewed focus on starting sharply.

"We need to stay compact especially at the beginning," he said.

"If you can grind out the first 20 or 30 and keep it at 0-0, they're going to get a bit more angry and frustrated.

"We've been working the last three weeks on our defensive discipline and closing passing lanes and closing spaces.

"I think we're doing that really well. We're restricting teams to long balls and of course they're going to get half chances but for the most part we're defending really well."

France was also in action on Saturday, held to a 1-1 draw with the USA in Lyon.

Jackson Irvine, who helped carve out Australia's injury-time winner with his hard running, admitted Australia had an off night but said at least the Socceroos found a way to win.

"I just think it's one of those days. Sometimes two teams playing in a similar way maybe cancel each other out," he said.

"Football-wise, maybe the main thing to take from that is the way you can take the positive winning mentality.

"If you can win when you're not playing your best, it bodes well for when you do get the football right."

Kruse was guilty of two misses in the first half and could yet find his starting place under pressure from Arzani.

The 29-year-old said he felt ready to fire.

"As long as I'm getting into those positions, hopefully I can get chances within a game and hopefully they can start coming off," he said.