Socceroos greats slam Australia’s tactics after heavy defeat to France at FIFA World Cup in Qatar


Australia’s strategy and lack of grit in their humbling opening defeat by France at the World Cup have been criticised by Socceroos legends, who claim the Aussies ‘weren’t in the game’ after scoring first.

The Socceroos took a shock early lead through Craig Goodwin’s brilliant finish and had the reigning champions on the back foot for much of the opening 20 minutes.

Les Bleus’ class, however, eventually shone through as Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud turned the game around completely within four minutes, while Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann terrorised the Aussie defence.

Socceroos legends claim the Aussies ‘weren’t in the game’ after scoring early against France on Wednesday morning

Les Bleus' class shone through as Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud turned the game around completely within four minutes, while Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann terrorised the Aussie defence

Les Bleus’ class shone through as Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud turned the game around completely within four minutes, while Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann terrorised the Aussie defence

Mbappe added another after the break, before Giroud completed his double against an Aussie defensive line that looked fragile at best.

Australia struggled to keep possession throughout the match and put pressure on themselves with silly mistakes. 

At the halftime break Socceroos goalkeeping great Mark Bosnich branded the French goals as ‘completely avoidable’.

Socceroos legend Harry Kewell was scathing of the team’s decision not to pressure their opponents once they had shocked them with that early goal.

Socceroos legend Harry Kewell (pictured) was scathing of the Australian's tactics to not pressure their opponents once they had shocked them with an early goal

Socceroos legend Harry Kewell (pictured) was scathing of the Australian’s tactics to not pressure their opponents once they had shocked them with an early goal

‘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.

‘And it has turned out to be such an easy game for France.’

John Aloisi and Bosnich both questioned coach Graham Arnold’s tactics in the second half, as the Socceroos seemed too shy to bring the game to Les Bleus.

The Socceroos allowed the French to have 44 touches inside their penalty area, while the Aussies managed just 12 – the fewest ever tallied in a a Socceroos’ World Cup game.

Aloisi (pictured) was also critical of the Socceroos' passive approach - letting their opponents move the ball around easily and often unchallenged

Aloisi (pictured) was also critical of the Socceroos’ passive approach – letting their opponents move the ball around easily and often unchallenged

‘Just questions around, in the second half, whether Graham could have changed the approach. The pattern of the game ultimately was already set,’ said Aloisi.

‘Don’t you at some point say, hang on, we have to get higher up the park here?’ said Bosnich.

Aloisi was also critical of the Socceroos’ passive approach as they let their opponents move the ball around easily, often without being challenged.

‘I’m still pretty disappointed, so Arnie spoke after the game that he has to pick the boys up, and he will,’ said Aloisi.

‘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 us done, and they completely dominated us and created chance after chance.

Bosnich (pictured) also argued that the result against France exposes how poor Australian junior talent pathways are compared to the French systems

Bosnich (pictured) also argued that the result against France exposes how poor Australian junior talent pathways are compared to the French systems

‘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.’

Bosnich also argued that the result against France exposes how poor Australian junior talent pathways are compared to the French systems.

‘You are seeing the results of that now, and you see the difference in the class and the quality,’ he said.

‘That’s the biggest question here: what is Australian football going to do in the future to see our players be like that one day?

Australia plays Tunisia next on Saturday night before taking on Denmark in the final Group D match at 2am on Thursday, December 1

Australia plays Tunisia next on Saturday night before taking on Denmark in the final Group D match at 2am on Thursday, December 1

‘Five World Cup appearances, all well and good, but what? But what? One last 16 place in over 100 years. So what are you going to do about that? That’s the biggest question.’

Australia plays Tunisia next on Saturday night before taking on Denmark in the final Group D match at 2am on Thursday, December 1. 



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