In 2018, France showed why they’re one of the world’s football powerhouses by capturing another World Cup trophy. Jump forward to 2022 and France once again looks to be a force to be reckoned with at the World Cup — Unfortunately for Stoke City center-back Harry Souttar though, France’s latest World Cup win came against himself and Australia.
On Tuesday, Harry Souttar and the rest of team Australia fell to France 4-1 to open their World Cup slate. On paper, Australia knew Tuesday’s opening match would most likely be their toughest match of the tournament. It was also likely to be one of Harry Souttar’s toughest matches of the tournament, as he got the start in the squad’s first World Cup assignment.
After all, facing the speed of Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé in attack would be tall order for any nation or player. You add on top of that Olivier Giroud’s experience and knack for finding the ball near goal and Australia/Souttar figured they would be in for a long opening match.
How Souttar and Australia Fared Overall Against France
Australia’s loss didn’t come without a fight. Australia early in the match got off to a hot start as Craig Goodwin found the back of the net first in the 9th minute. After scoring the game’s first goal, Australia couldn’t muster much after however.
From there, the rest of the match was all France in attack. France would go on to score four unanswered goals and as mentioned above, get the win.
Stoke City’s Harry Souttar performed valiantly though in the loss, especially considering his lack of playing time after a knee injury last November. Souttar registered five clearances, one interception, and won two of three aerial duels he faced in the match.
The biggest negative you can say on the day for Souttar, was his lack of involvement on the ball in the 18-yard box. Or maybe even a better assessment for Souttar, was he simply didn’t make enough of an impact in a match that centered around France controlling the ball in Australia’s defensive third.
On numerous occasions (specifically France’s two later goals), Souttar failed to be in the correct position to impact balls crossed into the 6-yard box. He also mistimed some jumps and failed to get his head to crosses played into the 6 yard-box — Something that someone of his size is in the starting lineup to do.
Still, as someone who has only started one first team match in the last year prior to Tuesday’s France clash, Souttar performed as well as expected. Harry Souttar will next have his chance to shake even more rust off when Australia takes on Tunisia on Saturday.