That is it. Far from vintage from France but they leave Kazan with three valuable points. Australia battled resolutely throughout but depart empty-handed.
90+5 min: Needless foul on Pogba on halfway. That could be it for
90+4 min: The more the game has stretched the more it has played into Kante’s hands. He’s been superb second half. He can’t interrupt Risdon’s excellent dash down the right though but the fullback’s cross is weak and cleared. Mooy picks up the scraps, feeds the ball out to the left but the eventual cross doesn’t find a gold shirt until it falls to Arzani outside the box but his shot is blocked.
90+3 min: Fekir has done well since he came on, offering Francemore in front of Australia’s defence than Dembele did trying to get in behind. He’s been a nuisance down the right hand side.
90+1 min: It will be longer than five minutes because Hernandez is milking an ‘injury’, not for the first time today.
90 min: France should have sealed the result. Kante does superbly to break up play and then set Mbappe away down the left, he does well to outpace Ryan and recycle possession but Fekir and Pogba make a mess of what could have been a near open goal.
Five minutes of stoppage time to be played.
88 min: Australia are expending so much energy defending they have nothing in attack when they clear. France looking in control, finally, after a difficult day.
86 min: Since that second France goal Australia have been unable to wrestle any momentum in their favour. It’s not been helped by some cheap turnovers coming out of defence. The latest, by Behich, results in the fullback receiving a yellow card for his failed recovery efforts.
84 min: Final substitution for Australia and it’s the wunderkind Arzani, making his competitive debut.
GOAL! France 2-1 Australia (Pogba 81 min)
Out of nothing Pogba does it for France! He finally found some interplay in midfield, strode into the box and lifted a toe-poke above Ryan who was just off his line, the ball dropping just behind the line off the crossbar.
80 min: Australia struggling to get numbers forward in attack when they clear their lines now. This could turn into ten minutes of attack versus defence.
77 min: Dear me, this is descending into an ugly old shambles. Neither side can string more than a couple of passes together. Still, Australia’s commitment cannot be questioned, especially in midfield where Mooy and Jedinak - now joined by Irvine - are snapping into Pogba and Kante at every opportunity.
Final change for France as Matuidi comes on for Tolisso.
75 min: Tiredness starting to creep in now with spaces opening in midfield where previously there was congestion. This is where France would look to Pogba to stamp his authority on proceedings. He’ll have to wait for a while though while Tolisso receives a yellow card for cynically hauling down Juric who was breaking dangerously from midfield.
74 min: It’s been a compelling contest but awfully scrappy, full of misplaced passes and rushed possession. The few moments of time on the ball France have enjoyed have displayed a lack of understanding amongst teammates, the latest example being Fekir failing to recognise Giroud’s movement.
72 min: France earn a corner that ends with Pavard blasting extravagantly high from outside the box. Australia clear their lines and slow the game down high up the field on their left.
71 min: More substitution interruption. This time it’s Irvine for Rogic for Australia. That will bolster Van Marwijk’s midfield while his side dig in for the draw.
69 min: Here come the subs. Giroud and Fekir for Griezmann and Dembele.
68 min: Giroud and Fekir look to be being readied by Deschamps. Meanwhile France work the ball into Australian territory down the left, switch to the right for the cross but it’s repelled easily by the massed ranks of gold shirts.
67 min: Ryan does well to rescue his defence from a sloppy backpass but he’s sharply off his line to deny Mbappe.
66 min: What have France got in this last half hour or so? Apart from the burst around their goal they’ve lacked fluency this second half. Deschamps yet to make any change
63 min: First substitution of the night is an Australian one. Andrew Nabbout worked hard for little reward, and he’s replaced by the Socceroos’ regular number 9 Tomi Juric.
62 min: Anyone remember Glenn Hysen conceding a penalty for Liverpool at Old Trafford back in the day? Umtiti’s indiscretion was like that.
GOAL! France 1-0 Australia (Griezmann pen 58)
Griezmann blasts the ball to the stationary Ryan’s left. France have laboured but they have a precious lead.
VAR has intervened in a World Cup for the first time and it does so to prove Risdon got nothing on his challenge on Griezmann. The referee makes the charades hand gesture for TV, and then points to the spot. Risdon gets a booking too for his troubles.
55 min: Massive moment! France win the turnover and attack through the middle, Pogba sends a lovely weighted pass into Griezmann, he’s through on goal but Risdon nicks it away from his toes as he’s in on Ryan. The referee waves play-on, but he’s been invited to consult VAR...
53 min: Decent from Australia, down the right this time, with Risdon getting ahead of Leckie and whipping a cross in. Nabbout makes his presence felt but he can’t fashion a shooting opportunity. Good signs for Australia though that their counterattacking may pay dividends as the game stretches.
51 min: Almost an opening for France who shift the ball nicely from back to front but the key pass to the overlapping Hernandez is overhit by Demebele. Let-off for Australia with Risdon caught out of position.
48 min: Stoppage in play while Hernandez receives treatment. The France left-back has spent his fair share of this game on the deck with replays not favouring his resilience.
47 min: Nervy start to the half by Australia, the goalkeeper and both fullbacks making a bit of a horlicks of playing out from the back. France capitalise and begin probing around the box but a smart Milligan header releases the pressure.
Cut to close up of Giroud lacing up his boots on the bench. Can’t imagine he’ll be sat down for long.
46 min: Second half underway. No changes by either side just yet.
Ante Milic, Australia’s assistant coach, has just been on the telly. He said words like discipline, block, energy, concentration - you get the drift.
Time for some correspondence:
“Hey Jonathan,” hey JR in Illinois. “Australia have been disappointingly unsuicidal. (Yeah, pretty sure that’s not a word but I’ll stick with it) I didn’t wake up at 4:45 AM to watch a Tony Pulis side. Nothing personal against the Socceroos but I was hoping for France to give them a major beatdown. I guess there’s still the second half.” JR - this is exactly how Australia have been preparing to play since Bert van Marwijk took the gig. He’ll be delighted with a scrappy 0-0 and then look to expand more against Denmark and Peru.
The Socceroos will be pleased with that first half, but - at the risk of stating the obvious - there’s a long way to go here at the sunny Kazan Arena. Australia boss Bert van Marwijk was in a philosophical mood at the pre-match press conference on Friday, musing: “Not always the best players win prizes. A lot of times it is the best team. We would like to be the best team.” A creditable first-half attempt - can the Socceroos repeat this effort in the second 45?
After an ominous opening ten minutes France have been well marshalled by Australia. Goalless at the break in Kazan.
45+1 min: It’s been a while but Australia prosper down the left again, Behich overlapping nicely, fashioning a shooting opportunity for Leckie but his hooked effort is deflected away.
45 min: “Is it me, or is the pitch very lush and slow?” asks Huh Molloy. “Perhaps they’re trying to protect it by not watering it or maybe it’s just the heat. Either way it suits Australia that it’s hard to zip it about. Eyes open for sprinklers at half time.” Great observation Hugh, and one made at other venues early in this tournament.
43 min: Another half-chance snuffed out by Sainsbury. He has a knack of just arriving at the right time the Australian vice-captain, this time floating through the air to caress at volleyed clearance with Griezmann licking his lips.
41 min: It wouldn’t surprise me to see Giroud in the second half. On a few occasions France have played cute little balls to the feet of Griezmann but he’s too lightweight to hold off Australia’s centre-halves with his back to goal. It’s a strategy that needs a big lump like David Hirst, but he is neither French, nor an active professional footballer.
39 min: Exhibit A - An awful pass from Pogba. Misses his target from 15 metres away under no pressure.
38 min: It’s descended into a scrappy game in Kazan with neither side stringing many passes together. Both defensive units are happy stroking the ball around amongst themselves but anything in a forward direction is swiftly leading to a turnover.
36 min: “Australia’s football, rugby and cricket teams are all playing simultaneously. Has this ever happened before?” Asks Justin Rigden. I don’t know the answer, but I do know my editor wishes he had one of those time-turner things from Harry Potter.
35 min: France enjoy a decent spell of possession for the first time in a while but despite shifting from side to side and bringing all the big guns into play Australia’s shape is solid and there’s no way through. When there is a minor lapse Mooy is hard at Mbappe to snuff out any danger. This is an increasingly impressive showing from the men in gold.
33 min: The corner is floated gently into Ryan’s gloves.
32 min: More good defending from Australia but the counterattacking element of Van Marwijk’s gameplan remains a work in progress. Rogic this time failing to find a teammate with his back to goal.
From the transition France work space down the left for Hernandez to cross or shoot but Sainsbury is alert to concede the corner.
30 min: Australia are now controlling the tempo of this match, building up from the back nicely in repeat phases of play. From one such move Rogic darts through the lines and looks to draw a foul on the edge of the France box but Kante’s challenge is a fair one.
France go up the other end and first Mbappe and then Griezmann test the Australian defence, Sainsbury doing well to recover.
28 min: Good take from Lloris, coming about bravely to catch an outswinging Mooy free-kick. For our Australian readers it was a bit like the Leo Barry (you star) mark.
27 min: So much that hasn’t warranted an entry has involved the pace and trickery of Dembele and Mbappe. Often already today they’ve been a blade of grass or two away from breaking free or beating their man only to find fate blocking their paths. You can see the awesome potential though and expect it won’t be long before one of both cut loose.
25 min: Van Marwijk’s selection gamble is paying off so far. The combination of Jedinak and Mooy in midfield has broken up play well, the latter in particular hassling Griezmann at every opportunity. They’re not crafting much going forward, but that will be of little concern while the score remains 0-0.
22m ago11:2323 min: Big call from the referee. Demebele belts down the left flank with a full stride like Bolt doing the 200m, Sainsbury cutely bodychecks him but gets away without a free-kick.
22 min: After that dominant opening ten minutes France have struggled to find rhythm and Australia are growing into their stride, especially down the left. There’s little cohesion in the French midfield, it’s either too direct or too intricate.
20 min: “The pronouncing of Mooy reminds me of Kath and Kim - ‘look at Mooy, look at Mooy’”. Kevin Wilson is correct.
18 min: On replay the ball didn’t actually reach Sainsbury, it was deflected towards goal by a French defender. Terrific save nonetheless.
17 min: Australia are getting a modicum of joy down their left and for the second time in recent minutes Kruse is grounded by Pavard, offering Mooy another crossing opportunity. It’s a beauty from the Huddersfield man, flicked on, and Sainsbury at the far post has a tap-in at the back stick but Lloris makes a superb save! Blimey, Australia so close against the run of play.
15 min: Alex Brown emails: “I saw the Australia Colombia friendly at Craven Cottage a couple of months ago. France 3-0.” The early indications are you may be right Alex, words typed while another through-ball just misses its target and lands in Ryan’s arm
13 min: Leckie is the first name in the book. Australia’s right winger committed himself to a 50-50 that Hernandez reached a fraction in advance and the Uruguayan referee showed no mercy. Griezmann’s resulting free-kick is headed behind for a corner.
12 min: First opening for Australia. Some nice interplay down the left draws the foul from Pavard, handing the dangerous Mooy a crossing opportunity. His free-kick is flicked on at the near post but over the bar.
11 min: France are varying their methods of attack nicely. A direct ball in the channel this time is won in the air but Ryan is out sharply to nick it off the toenails of Griezmann.
10 min: Finally Australia get their time on the ball, building calmly from the back and then moving through the gears with Rogic. Nothing comes of it, but it will help build confidence after a shaky start.
8 min: Poor defending from Risdon offers France a dangerous free-kick around the corner of the penalty area. Mbappe takes it, it gets a deflection, but Ryan is alert again to snuff out any danger.
6 min: Another save by Ryan, low to his left this time, to deny a tame drive from the edge of the box by Griezmann. It was the product of a rapid counterattack following a brief Australian incursion. France look up for this, Australia just need to hang on during these opening exchanges.
It may just be the visual advantage of yellow, but Australian fans seem far more numerous today at the Kazan Arena. They’re in full voice and stadium management obliged earlier with some Down Under by Men at Work.
4 min: Australia can’t get a foot on the ball. It’s all France, calmly circulating the Telstar 2 from one side to the other, looking for the vertical pass to Mbappe. One such ball forces Milligan into the kind of foul a defender concedes when he knows he’s beaten for pace on the turn. Pogba hits the free-kick from 30 metres or so out but it’s straight at Ryan.
2 min: France controlling possession in the early stages, and controlling it s l o w l y, trying to draw the sting out of Australia’s aggression.
That is until one methodical build-up down the right that ends with Mbappe in behind Sainsbury and forcing Ryan into a sharp save low to his left.
Australia get the ball rolling in Kazan.
Elsewhere in Group C Peru have quickly established themselves as the neutral’s choice. Appearing in their first world cup in a generation, Peruvians have gone to extraordinary lengths to support their side.
Heard the one about the Peru fan who put on 24kg to get a World Cup ticket
It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Kazan - perfect weather for some afternoon football. While an opening encounter against France might not seem fortuitous, Australia is lucky to have its first match at the Kazan Arena - the team is based in the city and barely had a 10 minute drive from hotel to stadium. The French, on the other hand, have flown in from Moscow.
Kieran Pender, our man in Russia has checked in. We’ll be receiving live updates from the Kazan Arena throughout the game.
Since you’re here … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Make a contribution. - Guardian HQ
The good news for Australian supporters is this match is being broadcast on local free-to-air channel SBS. Yesterday’s clash between Uruguay and Egypt was the first to be screened only on streaming service Optus Sport, and technical glitches made for a horror night for the under fire service.
Optus under fire after World Cup streaming leaves fans frustrated
If there is one player under the microscope today it’s surely Francemidfielder Paul Pogba. Once the most expensive player in the world, Pogba has often struggled to live up to expectation. Marcel Desailly now insists Pogba must adjust to becoming a role player in such star-studded surroundings.
“I think Pogba has to accept that he is part of a midfield that will have to provide balance – that he won’t be the star of the team because I think potentially we have a three-man attack that can frighten any team in Russia.”