Australia landed an early blow before being floored by a power-packed France in a 4-1 loss to the reigning World Cup titleholders in Qatar.
The Socceroos went ahead via Craig Goodwin and bossed Les Bleus for the initial 25 minutes at Al Janoub Stadium.
But the Australians were then swamped by wave after ominous blue wave as France scored four goals in a 45-minute burst.
"They are the previous world champions for a reason," Socceroos coach Graham Arnold told reporters.
"Physically, they were just so much bigger and faster and stronger than us.
"Overall, the boys gave everything and that's all you can ask."
Veteran French forward Olivier Giroud netted twice while Adrien Rabiot and megastar Kylian Mbappe also scored against the outclassed Socceroos.
Goodwin's ninth-minute goal was from Australia's top shelf, with the Adelaide United captain scoring from a stunning fast-break.
Harry Souttar's laser long ball from defence was collected by Mathew Leckie on the right flank and he cut inside defender Lucas Hernandez.
The Frenchman's right knee buckled as Leckie arrowed across the face of goal to Goodwin who scored to put the Socceroos on top of the world champions.
"That is what we trained on, the way we scored that goal," Arnold said.
The Socceroos could have gone 2-0 up in the 22nd minute when a flying Mitch Duke 20-metre shot just curved outside the right post.
But five minutes later, the tide turned towards France.
Rabiot scored with a close-range header from a perfectly weighted ball from substitute Theo Hernandez, who replaced his injured older brother.
Five minutes later, Giroud put the French 2-1 ahead after a blunder from Australian right-back Nathaniel Atkinson, one of six Socceroos on debut in Doha at the World Cup finals.
Atkinson failed to control a routine Jackson Irvine pass and was dispossessed in a twinkling by Rabiot and the ball rolled to the brilliant Mbappe.
With an audacious back-heel, he returned possession to Rabiot, who in turn found Giroud unmarked metres from goal.
The French went close to scoring four more times in the next 10 minutes before Australia's Irvine, against the flow, bounced a header into the left post just before halftime.
After the break, the French rout was completed with accurate headers from the the magical Mbappe in the 68th minute and Giroud, who just three minutes later equalled Thierry Henry's record for most goals for France, 51.
"We just got punished by our mistakes," Arnold said.
"And the delivery of their crosses was right on target."
The Australians next meet Tunisia (Saturday 9pm AEDT) with Denmark (December 1, 2am AEDT) to follow.
Tunisia and Denmark played out a scoreless draw in the opening Group D game.
"It was good that the other result was a draw," Arnold added.
"And now it's about winning on Saturday so we have got to get ready for it."
Australian Associated Press
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