Bert van Marwijk has declared himself “proud but disappointed” of his Socceroos side after they fell 2-1 to France in their opening game of the FIFA World Cup™.
After holding out the much more fancied opponents for the entire first half and then pegging them back just four minutes after going behind to a Antoine Griezmann penalty, a late deflected goal from Paul Pogba proved to be the 81st minute dagger in the Aussies’ hopes of pulling off an upset.
“I’m proud but disappointed. I think we gave a very good performance,” explained van Marwijk after the game.
Van Marwijk also detailed the biggest sign of how the Aussies went toe-to-toe with the French, which culminated in the opposition's indecision in countering what the Socceroos were doing in defence.
“No one expected we could play like this against France but I think there were a lot of moments when [France] didn’t know what to do anymore so that’s a big compliment for us.
“The way we wanted to play, they did it for 95 percent so I can’t blame any players, I can only give them compliments. At least we deserved a draw.”
Van Marwijk added: “When you see this game you must have confidence for the rest of the tournament but there is no guarantee.
“For the last four weeks, I’ve already got confidence …. Everyone could see today that this is a different team. One of the most positive things is that we showed guts and we showed that we could be ourselves. The next game is another game but this gives us confidence.”
Both of France’s goals came via the use of technology – firstly the Video Assistant Referee and then Goal Line Technology – but despite this, van Marwijk didn’t want these talking points to detract from what was a spirited team performance from the Socceroos.
“Everybody is talking about the VAR but for me it’s the start and we have to learn a lot about this system but I prefer to say something about the game,” said van Marwijk on the subject.
“I cannot change that anymore.”
The Dutchman also reserved praise for Hyundai A-League defender Josh Risdon, who came up against a star-studded France attack which include Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.
Risdon, coming off his season with Western Sydney Wanderers, impressed despite his involvement in the foul on Griezmann that led to France’s spot kick.
“I didn’t see it really well but the performance of Risdon was very, very, very good,” said van Marwijk.
“It was a position with a lot of problems for the national team before my time. Josh has made remarkable progress in the last month so I was pleased with his performance.”