'I hope they go through': France praise for Socceroos

Defeat to France was seen as inevitable by many but in the end, it was a tough slog and Australia nearly took something away from their opening fixture in Group C.

After a number of Les Bleus admitted they didn’t know many of Australia’s players, the unknown Socceroos give France a run for their money.

Here’s the reaction from the France side after they managed a 2-1 win over Australia.

“It felt like we were playing in Australia”

He scored the match winner, and Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba has claimed the 10,000 strong Australian contingent at Kazan on Saturday made it feel like a Socceroos home game.

“It was intense,” said Pogba, speaking to the gathered press post-match.

Paul Pogba Mat Ryan France
Paul Pogba appeals for a goal during France's 2-1 win over Australia.

“The Australian fans were shouting, they were even booing our players, so we felt like we were playing in Australia.”

Pogba admitted it was a more physical game than he was expecting, and that Australia made it tough for his side.  

“They played very well, they defended very well, they played all together,” said Pogba.

“The only frustration we had [at half-time] was it was hard to find the players because they (Australia) defended very well.

“First-half we didn’t press as good as we should, the second-half was much better.”

“Australians can be proud of their team”

Bandage clad and off the bench, Chelsea and France striker Olivier Giroud cut a relieved figure after the win over Australia.

Speaking to Optus Sport after the match, Giroud admitted it was a ‘relief’ to get the three points against Australia.

“We expected a tough game because we know the quality of the Australian team,” said Giroud.

“They fight until the end, and we expect that, so we needed to be focused and try to take advantage of them

“We succeeded in doing it but it was very tough, at the end of the day it’s a big relief.”

France Olivier Giroud
France striker Olivier Giroud was complimentary to the Socceroos post-match.

Giroud said the VAR decision was fair enough but had some words of encouragement for Australia.

“I would like to say to Australians that they can be proud of their team,” said Giroud.

“They played with quality and never gave up, I hope they are going to go through to the second stage.”

“It was a penalty”

History was made as France was awarded the first ever Video Assistant Referee (VAR) assisted penalty against Australia, and the man who won and scored the penalty has defended the decision.

Antoine Griezmann went down under the challenge from Josh Risdon and claimed he felt the decision was the correct one from the moment he fell.

Antoine Griezmann Josh Risdon
France's Antoine Griezmann moments before winning a penalty.

“I thought it was a penalty,” said Griezmann.

“However, after the referee did not blow his whistle, I forgot about VAR -- all the better for us.

"When the referee went to check out the video, I already had the penalty (and) I was focused on taking it."