‘It hurt so much’: Socceroos shattered by narrow France defeat

The Socceroos have been left stunned and shattered by their 2-1 loss to France after taking it up to the World Cup favourites for much of the match.

Australia stalwart Mark Milligan summed up the mood, saying "it's been a while since a loss has hurt that much".

In Kazan on Saturday, the Socceroos fell victim to a contentious video assistant referee (VAR) penalty decision and a deflected late goal.

For most of the match, you'd never have guessed this was a clash between one of the tournament favourites and a rank outsider.

But that's just what made missing out on a point all the tougher for Milligan.

"We were in the game," he said.

"We executed quite well defensively. Mile (Jedinak) and Mooysy (Aaron Mooy) were outstanding in shutting down those lanes into the front three.

"It hurt so much because we put so much effort in and they're such a good side. They've got talent everywhere.

"To lose all the points, it's hard to take."

The result had a pang of injustice, given the dubious view that the referee made a "clear and obvious error" before he overturned his decision and awarded the French a penalty for Josh Risdon's tackle on Antoine Griezmann.

Outside the opening 10 minutes, when Mat Ryan kept Australia in it with four saves, France's two goals were their only two shots on target.

"We kept them to probably two or three half chances. Nothing clear cut," Milligan said.

"Going forward, today was a good performance but we've got so much more to give."

Milligan's pain was echoed by Robbie Kruse.

"It's disappointing because we performed so well defensively as a unit," he said.

"We executed perfectly. They were really frustrated.

"It's frustrating for us but we can take a lot of positives.

"They have so many superstars in that team. On the basis of that game you wouldn't have noticed it.

"Full credit to the coaching staff for implanting that plan and I think the players executed it really well.

"It's tough to take but we can draw a lot of positives."

Australian Associated Press