The Socceroos got their World Cup campaign underway this morning as they took on reigning world champions France, and there was a sense of optimism amongst the Australian football community heading into the tie.
Shortly after the first whistle, that optimism grew into realism, as the A-League's very own Craig Goodwin and Mathew Leckie combined to put Australia in front only nine minutes in.
For the first 25 minutes, Australia took the game on with composure, aggression and an attacking threat none would have expected against an opponent of France's calibre.
However, as soon as France scored their first goal courtesy of Adrien Rabiot, the mood, the play style and most importantly, the game, completely changed.
The Socceroos went back into their shell and almost seemed overwhelmed. Australia were forcing themselves into trouble, committing many unforced errors followed by a poor touch and turnover from full-back Nathaniel Atkinson led to France's second goal only five minutes after the first.
From that point on, France controlled the game and Australia never looked threatening, not once. The midfield was so one-dimensional that 90% of passes were either forwards or backwards, the full-backs looked reluctant to present as an option further up the field and the wingers lacked forward runs.
Striker Mitch Duke was our only reasonable presence up forward after our first goal, and when he was substituted the front three was quite literally non-existent.
The aggression that was shown in the first 25 minutes was never to be seen again. The composure was also never to be seen again. There was no attempt to take the game on after the Socceroos went behind.
Whilst it's clear in terms of talent and quality the French are leaps and bounds ahead of Australia, you have to question the tactics of Graham Arnold and what he wanted to achieve by parking the bus after playing delightful football for 25 minutes.
If you sit back against the best in the world, you are going to get punished.
Nevertheless, there are some very promising signs to take into the match against Tunisia on Saturday night, where a win is certainly achievable.
Mathew Ryan - 5
Very little he could do about the goals. Distribution and composure could have been better at times. Will start against Tunisia regardless due to the decision to leave Langerak at home.
Nathaniel Atkinson - 4
Completely torn apart by the brilliant Kylian Mbappe. Was at fault for the second goal and offered nothing going forward. Likely to be dropped for Saturday's match for Karacic.
Kye Rowles - 6
Was solid defensively and distributed the ball well. Was the Soccerooos' best defender for the match.
Harry Souttar - 5
Had a sound defensive game for his first Socceroos appearance in 12 months. Should have been tighter to Mbappe for France's third goal. Not much else he could do about other goals.
Aziz Behich - 5
Defended the explosive Ousmane Dembele quite well and had a goal-line clearance. Looked scared to even think about a forward pass however. Likely keeps his spot against Tunisia.
Aaron Mooy - 5
Played as a deep-lying midfielder and didn't offer much. Was nowhere near his creative best and is much better suited to the No.8 role. Needed to look forward more often than he did.
Jackson Irvine - 6
Australia's best midfielder. Defensively sound and his physicality made him a bit of a threat going forward. Hit the post from a brilliant header as well. May be benched on Saturday due to a yellow card.
Riley McGree - 4
Didn't offer much offensively or defensively. Was rarely involved. Had a strike from 30 yards out that accumulated 0.02xg. Likely to be dropped for Hrustic against Tunisia.
Mat Leckie - 6
Brilliant assist to Goodwin for the opener. Was the only one continuously putting pressure on France throughout the game and his effort was outstanding. Good to see him carry his league form to the World Cup.
Craig Goodwin - 6
Scored a brilliant opening goal but after that was almost non-existent. Didn't complete a single cross and rarely made forward runs when the Socceroos looked to play the ball long.
Mitch Duke - 7 (Man of the Match)
The only reasonable presence up forward. Always putting his physicality and heading ability to good use against Konate and Upamecano. Australia's version of Lyndon Dykes and Kieffer Moore. Without him, our front three look disjointed.
Jason Cummings - 5
Completed 4 passes in 35 minutes. Not the right game for him to come into, barely noticed.
Awer Mabil - 5
You usually want your substitutes on the wing to be explosive and take the game on. Instead, Mabil focused on backwards passes every time he touched the ball.
Garang Kuol - 5
Couldn't get into the game. Tried to take on the brilliant Theo Hernandez once but was shut down. Deserves more of a chance on Saturday.
Keanu Baccus - 6
Was only on the pitch for 10 minutes but looked composed and looked to play forward passes when in possession. An interesting one to watch for the next two matches.
Milos Degenek - 6
Also only got 10 minutes but didn't put a foot wrong. Deserves to be involved over the next two matches.
The Socceroos' next World Cup match is against Tunisia on Saturday night at 9:00pm AEDT.