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Daily news updates, latest from Qatar, Australia fan celebrations in Fed Square, Socceroos road to knockout stage, Lucas Hernandez injury update

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Wild scenes on a cold Wednesday morning in Melbourne have once again demonstrated the incredible power of the World Cup.

Furthermore, the Socceroos’ path to the knockout stage is easier than you might think, despite their 4-1 loss to France.

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THE MOMENT OF AUSSIE FAN MADNESS STUNS THE WORLD

Anyone who says we’re not a football-loving nation needs to see the scenes from Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday morning.

A packed crowd of Socceroos fans filled the gathering space in the CBD from before 6am, watching the match against France on the big screen.

And when Craig Goodwin scored his wonder goal to put the Aussies ahead of the reigning champions, chaos ensued.

In a word: extremities.

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SOCCEROOS’ CLEAR PATH TO KNOCKOUTS REMAINS

While Australia are certainly not the favorites to emerge from Group D, the draw between Denmark and Tunisia on Wednesday morning ensures that there is a chance.

In previous World Cups, the Socceroos have nearly been knocked out by the end of matchday one, that’s because in 2010, 2014 and 2018 they lost their opener while the second group match also saw a winner, putting the Aussies to 0. points and two sides in 3.

Most notably in South Africa, the Socceroos’ 4–0 loss to Germany destroyed their goal difference, ultimately seeing them lose second place in the tiebreaker to Ghana.

But this time, with what should be Australia’s toughest game out of the way, they sit on 0 points but with the Danes and Tunisian on 1 point each.

Those opponents were always going to be the most likely contenders for Australian points, so if the Socceroos manage to win and draw in their last two group games, they have a real chance of finishing second behind France.

Example

Day 2: Australia beat Tunisia, France beat or draw Denmark

Day 3: Australia draws (or better) Denmark, France beats Tunisia

Result: France 1st, Australia 2nd

Of course, Tunisia looked quite dangerous against Denmark, so we are not saying that the game against our North African rivals will be easy. But it’s the easiest of the three to win, and if the Aussies can’t beat Tunisia then they don’t deserve to drop out of the group anyway.

FRANCE RESULTED IN ANOTHER COUP BY CRUSHING

France have suffered another injury setback with defender Lucas Hernandez ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a torn ACL in a 4-1 win over Australia.

France coach Didier Deschamps said after the win that Hernandez’s knee injury “looked pretty serious”, and the full extent of the injury was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.

Lucas Hernández reacts after suffering an injury. (Photo by Chandan KHANNA/AFP)Source: AFP

Bidding to become the first team to successfully defend the title since Brazil in 1962, Deschamps’ men had already seen Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Presnel Kimpembe ruled out before the tournament.

France had to come from behind after Craig Goodwin’s opening goal in the ninth minute for the Socceroos.

Olivier Giroud scored twice to tie Thierry Henry on France’s all-time goalscorer list, with Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe also on the scoreboard in the 4-1 win.

“Even though they caught us cold at first, we did everything right afterwards,” added Deschamps.

“In the second half we could have had an even bigger winning margin, but we did a lot of good things.”

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