Raphaël Varane and France opened their World Cup campaign this Saturday when they met Australia in the first game of group C in Kazan. Raphaël Varane started the game alongside Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti in the heart of the French defense. France were in control of the game, and it was on set pieces and crosses that Australia created their chances. 20 minutes into the first half, Corentin Tolisso came close to putting the ball in his own net, but Hugo Lloris saved Les Bleus. Australia were solid defensively and France had problems creating big chances. After an even and exciting half it was 0-0 at half time.
The second half got a bit more controversial. After an hour, Antoine Griezmann got tackled in a one-on-one with Matt Ryan in the Australia goal. The Uruguayan referee waved the play on, but after a couple of seconds, he stopped the play and the situation had to be reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee. After seeing the situation again, the referee Andrés Cunha pointed to the penalty spot. Antoine Griezmann stepped up and scored France’s opening goal.
France were just in the lead for a couple of minutes until Samuel Umtiti gave away a penalty for a handball. Mile Jedinak was just as cold-blooded as Griezmann, and the teams were even in Kazan. With ten minutes to go Paul Pogba got France back in the lead. The Manchester United midfielder fired of a shot that went in the crossbar and out, but goal-line technology proved the ball crossed the line, giving France the winning goal.
BUUUUUUUUT DE PAUL ZINEDINE POGBA #FRAAUS pic.twitter.com/telqSLPdq3— Sainté (@mathieuphemisme) June 16, 2018
Raphaël Varane played a solid match, but he struggled a bit with his partnership with Umtiti, and it was clear that they both missed their respective leaders from their club in Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué. Varane showed off his fantastic passing distribution throughout the game, and he was solid in both aerial duels and tackles. France benefitted from Varane’s calmness as he got them out of some difficult situations.