Australia were comprehensively swept aside by France on Wednesday morning as the reigning World Cup champions ran away with a 4-1 win.
The horror outing left fans and legends of Australian football applying the blowtorch to Socceroos boss Graham Arnold with calls for him to be sacked immediately.
Things looked promising in the opening 10 minutes after the Socceroos stunned the world by kicking the opening goal of the match.
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Unfortunately it was all one-way traffic inside Al Janoub Stadium as France ran riot from that point onwards.
The Socceroos didn’t register another shot on target for the remainder of the contest as France peppered shots on goal, leaving Mat Ryan helpless against the wave of momentum.
The defensive line resembled Swiss cheese as the French attack found holes repeatedly — making matters worse was the Socceroos continually shooting themselves in the foot with rookie mistakes.
Those mistakes were particularly obvious in the first half goals.
Socceroos legend Mark Bosnich told SEN at half time the goals were “completely avoidable”.
Aussie football expert Daniel Garb posted on Twitter the second goal was an “unforgivable error” when France was given the ball back deep in the Socceroos’ half.
Harry Kewell said it ended up being an “easy” win for France as Australia’s tactics failed to put pressure on France.
“I just think if we had got them on the back foot, got the back line of France turning, we could have just caused them a little bit more trouble,” he said on SBS.
“And it has turned out to be such an easy game for France.”
Socceroos greats Bosnich and John Aloisi were also scathing of Australia’s tactical mistakes.
Defender Nathaniel Atkinson had a nightmare night at the office when he was repeatedly forced to defend Kylian Mbappe without any help from teammates.
Atkinson was eventually substituted in the 85th minute, but Aloisi said in commentary for SBS that Arnold’s changes came too late when the Socceroos should have been looking for fresh legs to push up the pitch and put pressure on France as they played out of their own half.
Jackson Irvine (85th minute), Riley McGree (73rd), Craig Goodwin (74th) and Mitch Duke 56th) were the other players substituted in the second half.
Aloisi said: “Just questions around, in the second half, whether Graham could have changed the approach. The pattern of the game ultimately was already set.”
Bosnich also criticised Arnold’s second-half tactics: “Don’t you at some point say, hang on, we have to get higher up the park here?”
Aloisi said Australia let France “dominate” them by failing to stop France’s easy ball movement.
“I’m still pretty disappointed, so Arnie spoke after the game that he has to pick the boys up, and he will,” Aloisi said.
“He has to, because if I’m feeling that way, imagine how the players are feeling, because they got completely outclassed. We weren’t in the game after our goal. That was it, that was as done, and they completely dominated us and created chance after chance.
“We didn’t find a way, a solution. Arnie spoke about how he was happy with the first half. I would say happy with the first 15 minutes but after that they dominated us.”
Craig Foster was equally as critical of Arnold’s game plan, pointing out not a thing changed after the halftime break.
“I thought the question was for Graham, whether he should have changed the game earlier. We were 2-1 down but we were also conceding a lot of good chances, so we thought maybe he was going to change Atkinson earlier. I was surprised it took so long to change. Very close to the end of the game,” Foster said.
“The other question for Australia is, the ambition in the second half at 2-1 down, whether you will try and change things, and we came out in the second half and the pattern of the game was exactly the same.
“At what point are we going to go up now and start to press them? We needed those fresh legs on the wings in particular. But bring the team up and start putting some pressure on them, and take some more risk.
“Typically what you see is the team is 2-1 down and we are saying at halftime, in the second half they are going to come out now and try and chase this game.
“Of course they will give some counter-attack opportunities. We never really did that, then you are down 3-1, then 4-1 and the game is over. Just questions around, in the second half, whether Graham could have changed the approach. The pattern of the game ultimately was already set.”
Goalscorer Craig Goodwin spoke after the game and said he had mixed emotions after netting the opener but watching on as France ran away with the win.
“Obviously mixed emotions because in the end we lose the game, but obviously an incredibly proud moment. Honoured to represent my country at the World Cup, and to score is an amazing feeling. But mixed feelings because we lost the game in the end,” he said.
“To score was a joy and almost indescribable in feeling, but to score at the World Cup against the reigning World Cup champions is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life, but for now it’s still business. We’ve got two more games and we want to do the best we can and try and win those games.”
Socceroos fans watching on from home were just as scathing in their assessment of the opening World Cup encounter.
Story Credit: news.com.au