A nervous victory for France, but they will take it. After dominating the first 15 minutes, the French attack fell flat, and struggled against a disciplined Australian defense. But in the second half, both the teams became aggressive.
France took the lead from a penalty, which came through a successful VAR. Griezmann gave them the lead from the spot. But a few minutes later, moment of madness from Umtiti meant Australia received a spot kick. Skipper Jedinak converted it to make it 1-1.
Despite laboring for much of the match, France took the lead through a touch of fortune. Pogba's effort took a huge deflection, and looped over the Australian goalkeeper. The goal line technology came into play. Not the best of the wins, but it is a victory for France.
FULL TIME: France 2-1 Australia
90' + 2': Two minutes of the added time has gone, and France have the ball. Australia need to do something.
90': Australia are on the attack, as five minutes added on.
88': Fekir takes the set piece, but its a very poor effort from the winger.
87': Free kick in a very dangerous position for France, after Behich pulls back Fekir who was attacking the goal. YELLOW CARD TO BEHICH!
84': Final change for Australia. Arzani comes in for Kruse.
80': GOAL! An unfortunate moment for Australia. A great play between Pogba and Giroud. The midfielder, from the edge of the box, chips the ball over the goalkeeper. The ball goes over the line, thanks to a deflection. Goal line technology comes into play.
78': Final change from France. Tolliso is replaced by Matuidi.
76': YELLOW CARD! Tolisso gets his name taken in the book for a cynical foul.
75': There isn't much urgency by France to score the all important second goal. All the passing and movement seems very labored.
72': Corner for France, taken by Fekir. The Australian defense clears it, but the ball falls to Pavard. But his first time volley is wayward.
71': Change for Australia, Rogic makes way for Irvine.
70': Griezmann comes on for Giroud. The other change sees Dembele replaced by Fekir.
68': Change is imminent for France. Fekir and Giroud are both ready!
66': The goal has brought confidence in the Australian team. They are playing like the stronger team.
64': Change for Australia, Nabbout goes off, and Juric comes on for him.
62': GOAL! Up steps Jedinak, and hits it to the bottom right corner. France 1-1 Australia
60': Australia look to hit back instantly. They get a free kick on the right side. Mooy takes it. PENALTY! The ball in the box is handled by Umtiti, and referee awards a spot kick to Australia.
58': GOAL! Griezmann gives France the lead. He hits it to the left of Ryan, who stood still. France 1-0 Australia.
56': PENALTY! Griezmann is tackled in the box, but the referee is not interested. But after he ball goes out of the play, he uses the VAR, and decides to give a spot kick to France.
52': Olivier Giroud and other France substitutes are warming up, and one of them coming on look increasingly imminent.
49': France players protest following an alleged elbow by Leckie on Hernandez. The Australian is on a yellow card, but the referee had no inclination in sending him off.
SECOND HALF GETS UNDERWAY!
The half ends, much to the disappointment of the French fans. They started of extremely well, creating chances after chances in the first 15 minutes. But after that, they struggled to get past a disciplined Australian defense.
Pogba has been particularly poor, failing to create chances. Same can be said for Griezmann, who hasn't seen much of the ball. The other front two, Mbappe and Dembele, have shown signs of encouragement, but Didier Deschamps will urge more from the team in the second half.
HALF TIME: France 0-0 Australia
45': Good attack by Australia down the left hand side, as Behich sends in a cross which is half dealt by the French defense. The ball comes back to the full back, and he has an effort from his weaker foot, which is just wide. ONE MINUTE ADDED ON!
43': Pogba nearly puts an unbelievable chipped pass for Griezmann, but Sainsbury gets a foot in at the nick of the time.
42': Way too much of sideways passing going on, without moving the ball forward. For all the possession France have had, they have nothing to show for it.
37': Pogba has had zero impact in the game till now. The man considered the heartbeat of the team has struggled to get going. Similar is the case with Tolisso, who was expected to provide a cutting edge.
33': Finally another attack by France. The ball is moved quickly in the midfield, and shifted towards the left back Hernandez. His cross cum shot is deflected out for a corner.
29': The ball has gone flat, much like the match in the past 10 minutes.
28': A frustrated Pogba concedes a needless free-kick. Mooy over it again. Good delivery from the midfielder, but Lloris comes out and hangs on to the ball.
25': After the initial 10-15 minutes, Mbappe and Griezmann have been devoid of the ball. The Australian midfield and defense have cut of the channel for the French attackers.
22': France are fuming at the referee after he doesn't award them a free-kick for a challenge on Demebele. The Barcelona man raced past his marker, and was bundled over, but the official gave a goal kick.
19': Australia now seemed to have settled in the match after the initial 15 minutes, which were completely dominated by France. Griezmann urging his teammates to push up the field.
17': BRILLIANT SAVE! Lloris makes a stunning save of Mooy's indirect free kick from the left, which was deflected by Tolisso, and looked certain to head into the net.
15': CLOSE! Pogba tries an audacious chip pass for Mbappe, but it is just a bit too heavy.
14': From the resulting free-kick, Griezmann puts in a beautiful delivery, but Australian defense head the ball out for a corner. The resulting corner is again defended well.
13': YELLOW CARD! Leckie gets a booking for a late late challenge on Lucas Hernandez.
12': Finally Australia make their way forward, and have gotten a free kick on the left side. Mooy to take it. A decent delivery from him, but the header from Leckie is well above.
10': Ryan has been brilliant in the first 10 minutes for Australia. This time, a long ball comes in, and the keeper is alert, and comes of his line to hold the ball ahead of onrushing Dembele.
8': Another free kick for France. Mbappe to take it. He puts the ball in the box, where Griezmann gets the head to it. But its another easy save for Ryan.
6': France are all over Australia. They already have their third effort on target. this time it was Griezmann, who hits it from his right, but its again straight at the keeper.
4': FREE KICK FOR FRANCE! Mbappe is fouled, and chance for the Euro 2016 finalists. Pogba looks set to take it. Good effort from the midfielder, but it is straight at the keeper.
2': The French team have the early possession. CHANCE OFR FRANCE! Mbappe's pace gets him beyond the Australia defence, but his shot is well saved by Ryan at the near post.
The players have come out to the field.
Here are the starting XI for both the teams. And look at France's forward trio!
Euro 2016 finalists France take on Australia in their first fixture of World Cup 2018. France are one of the front-runners to claim the trophy, given their attacking talents. Will they do it? We shall find out!
So this is it! The World Cup is back after four long years. This edition is being played in Russia. The tournament commences on June 14, and will conclude on July 15. Hosts Russia will play the first match against Saudi Arabia.
Defending champions Germany are on of the favorites to retain their crown, though, they will face stiff competition from 2010 champions Spain, 1998 winners France and five-time champions Brazil. While these three teams are expected to win, the likes of Argentina, Portugal and England are the outsiders to take home the trophy.
While these are the teams expected to win the trophy, there are three 'black horses' for the tournament.
1. Belgium: There is a very strong reason to consider Belgium as favorites, but it's way too early for that. The team managed by Roberto Martinez has many outstanding players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne. The quality in their midfield is second to none. Yet, they are no Spain or Germany. The growth of Belgium has begun only in recent time, and its fair to say not many within the team would actually believe they go till the end. Though, it won't be wrong to say given the quality they have, a surprise is very possible.
2. Croatia: They are arguably in the Group of Death, yet, the Croatian team will feel extremely confident of passing the group stage comfortably. That is a very minimum which the team should dream of, given they have the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic. The quality in their midfield is particulary good, and that might make them dream of winning the trophy. But in all honesty, that is improbable.
3. Uruguay: They were the dark horses back in 2010, they are the dark horses in 2018 as well. There is no denying the quality they possess. Well, not many teams can say they have two world class defenders in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, and two strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Yet, beyond these four players, there isn't much quality. The good thing for Uruguay though is the fact they can claim to have the easiest group, with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as their opponents. A qualification from group stages should be all but confirmed, and with the four world class players, you can put a cent on them doing the unthinkable.
A couple of teams have suffered off the field issues ahead of the extravaganza. Spain saw a change in their head coach, as Fernando Hierro took over from Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked on Wednesday following his decision to sign a contract with Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Germany also have been hit by an issue to couple of their players. Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan have been caught in controversy following their decision to take a picture with the Turkish President earlier this May.
It sparked outrage within their country, with a section of fans booing Gundogan and Ozil during Germany's friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia. Their manager, Joachim Low though, came out in their support, and criticized the fans for their reaction towards their players.