Olivier Giroud tied Thierry Henry’s record of 51 goals for France in international play as the defending champions defeated Australia 4-1 to start their World Cup 2022 Group D campaign.
Craig Goodwin’s early goal for Australia gave Les Bleus a scare, but two history-making goals from Giroud, coupled with headers from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe, eventually helped France secure a comfortable victory.
With only nine minutes remaining, France’s injury problems—which had already been made difficult by absent players both before and after the trip to Qatar—were made worse, and this injury also came as a personal affront. The Australian winger Mathew Leckie outmuscled Lucas Hernandez on the right side and crossed for Goodwin to score at the far post.
However, Hernandez fell to the ground holding his knee and remained there. Brother Theo Hernandez took over when the Bayern Munich player walked off with help from the medical personnel, and Australia initially did well to contain France’s offensive prowess.
But the World Champions did what they do best and came back from behind to win the game all the way.
France 4-1 Australia: The Les Bleus kicks-off their World Cu[p 2022 campaign in style
Les Bleus began to exert more pressure, though, and they tied the score after 27 minutes when Rabiot, who was unmarked, headed in a cross from Hernandez junior and beat Mat Ryan to give the world champions the lead once again.
The Australian defender Nathaniel Atkinson received a hard lesson after giving the ball away to striker Rabiot close to his own goal in the 32nd minute. Didier Deschamps’ team instantly had their tails up.
Giroud’s 50th international goal was an easy one for the AC Milan veteran to score after Rabiot stole the ball from Atkinson on the left, played a one-two with Kylian Mbappe, and found Giroud inside the box.
France’s Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele both missed opportunities, and Australia quickly found themselves under constant siege after Mbappe miraculously missed a shot from a few yards out in the 45th minute. This miss tied Andreas Cornelius for the worst of the day.
Hugo Lloris was left alone by Jackson Irvine’s header in first-half stoppage time, as the ball narrowly missed the post before falling behind for Graham Arnold’s team.
Six minutes into the second half, Giroud attempted to score his most recent signature screamer by connecting with Hernandez’s cross with an eye-catching bicycle kick, but his acrobatic attempt harmlessly missed the goal.
A fantastic goal-line clearance by Aziz Behich prevented a third goal for France after Griezmann’s score in the 67th minute. However, Les Bleus would double their advantage just one minute later when Mbappe headed in off the post from Dembele’s cross.
Four minutes later, Mbappe changed roles and assisted Giroud in a historic fourth goal for France, rushing down the left and crossing for the 36-year-old to head home his 51st goal, tying the record held by Henry for most goals by a man in history.
In the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game, Giroud was substituted, just before Ryan had to be alert to deflect an Ibrahima Konate header at the start of the final seven minutes.
Deschamps’ team is now preparing for their match against Denmark on Saturday as Australia looks to bounce back against Tunisia the same day.
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