Olivier Giroud scored two goals on Tuesday, making him France’s joint all-time leading scorer. This victory allowed France to begin their defence of their World Cup title in impressive fashion, beating Australia 4-1 in a comeback victory.
Giroud scored twice, once before and once after halftime, bringing his career total to 51 goals and tying Thierry Henry’s record. His goals were sandwiched between those of Kylian Mbappe and Adrien Rabiot, who had tied the game for France after Craig Goodwin had given France an unexpected early lead.
France’s victory in their first encounter makes them the first defending champions to accomplish so since Brazil in 2006. This has already placed them in a solid position to move beyond the group round, which is something that Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018 were all unable to achieve.
After playing to a scoreless draw against Tunisia and Denmark on Tuesday, France has three points and a two-point lead over each of those teams. France’s defender Lucas Hernandez suffered a major knee injury and will not recover from it.
Didier Deschamps’ team, who began the competition on the back of the disappointment of striker Karim Benzema being ruled out injured the previous Saturday, will next compete against Denmark on the following Saturday.
“We had a frightening experience, but we recovered shortly thereafter. Even if we could have scored more goals, we were able to find each other and we used our opportunities well “Giroud, who is now France’s oldest scorer at the World Cup at the age of 36, made the statement.
“The fact that we have been able to turn things around is incredibly beneficial to our confidence levels. Despite this, we will need to take the time to learn from our errors.”
According to Australia’s head coach Graham Arnold, his squad simply ran out of steam while facing a more talented opponent.
“Listen, at the end of the day, they are a good team to play against. Look at it this way. There is a good reason why they are the global champions “he said.
At the Al Janoub stadium, the beginning of the match did not exactly go according to plan for France.
After nine minutes of play, Goodwin of Australia smashed the ball into the top of the net after receiving a cross from Mathew Leckie on the right side of the field. This goal beat Lucas Hernandez, who was left clutching his right knee after being beaten to the ball.
The Hernandez brothers’ brother Theo entered the game as a replacement, and France continued to struggle to generate space, with Mbappe being the lone danger on France’s left side.
Australia’s play was far more direct, and they took advantage of France’s lack of a midfield by doing so.
Rabiot was the one to score the equaliser in the 27th minute, beating his defender to the cross from Hernandez and heading the ball into the back of the net.
As Mbappe moved into a more central position, it presented another challenge for the Australian defence to overcome. This was made abundantly clear when Rabiot collected the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s backheel inside the penalty area and then slid the ball across the face of the goal for Giroud to score on.
After that, France began to play with greater freedom, as seen by Antoine Griezmann’s low effort that went just wide and Kylian Mbappe’s attempt that went high over the bar as he sprinted to meet Griezmann’s cross from the right side of the field.
Jackson Irvine’s header following a rebound came dangerously close to scoring for Australia just before halftime, but Hugo Lloris was able to save the shot. Australia had France on their toes throughout the match.
Mbappe caused more chaos early on in the second half but was unable to find the breakthrough until the 68th minute, when he scored a glancing header to silence the Australian fans who had been yelling “Who are you?” at him in the first half. The fans had been shouting at him throughout the first half.
Giroud scored three minutes later on a header from Mbappe’s cross before collapsing to the ground in apparent shock and being encircled by his teammates in a goal celebration that lasted longer than normal, lending a thrilling air to France’s victory.
It took Giroud 115 games for France’s national team before he scored his 51 goals, while it took Henry 123 from 1997-2010. Giroud’s spot in the starting lineup was made possible because of Benzema’s injury.
There were more opportunities for France thanks to Theo Hernandez and Ibrahima Konate, but the outcome was already satisfying enough. This is especially true when one considers that France’s defence of their title in 2002 began with a 1-0 loss to Senegal, which was followed by an elimination in the first round.