France becomes the first defending champions since 2006 to win their first game, as striker Olivier Giroud ties Thierry Henry’s record of 51 goals. According to Australian coach Graham Arnold, his team ran out of gas against a superior opponent. France began their World Cup title defense with a 4-1 comeback triumph over Australia on Tuesday, as Olivier Giroud became Les Bleus’ joint all-time leading scorer with two goals.
France beat Australia 4-1 in the opener
Giroud scored before and after the interval to tie Thierry Henry’s record of 51 goals. After Adrien Rabiot leveled for France after Craig Goodwin’s early opening, he scored either side of a Kylian Mbappe goal. Les Bleus are the first defending champions to win their first encounter since Brazil in 2006, putting them in a solid position to move beyond the group stage, something Italy, Spain, and Germany failed to achieve in 2010, 2014, and 2018. France, who lost defender Lucas Hernandez to a major knee injury, leads Tunisia and Denmark by two points following a 0-0 tie on Tuesday.
Didier Deschamps’ team, who began the tournament with the disappointment of striker Karim Benzema’s injury last Saturday, will face Denmark on Saturday. We were startled, but we reacted swiftly. Even though we might have scored more goals, we found each other and were efficient,” remarked Giroud, 36, who is now France’s oldest World Cup scorer.
“It’s quite beneficial for our self-esteem that we’ve turned things around. We will, however, have to learn from our mistakes. According to Australian coach Graham Arnold, his team ran out of gas against a superior opponent. Look, at the end of the day, they’re a good team. “World champions are world champions for a reason,” he continued. I thought we played well in the first half.” We ran out of legs in the second half, but that’s the sort of level those players play at.
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It was hardly the start France had hoped for at the Al Janoub stadium. After being beaten to the ball after nine minutes, Australia’s Goodwin slammed the ball into the roof of the net from Mathew Leckie’s cross from the right, leaving Lucas Hernandez clutching his right knee. Theo Hernandez, Hernandez’s brother, came in as a substitute as France struggled to generate space, with only Mbappe threatening on his left side. Australia was far more direct, taking advantage of France’s non-existent middle.
Rabiot, on the other hand, leveled in the 27th minute, leaving his marker behind to head home Hernandez’s cross. With Mbappe playing more centrally, the Australian defense had a new challenge, as seen by Rabiot’s back-heel inside the box, which was collected by Rabiot, who passed the ball over for Giroud to tap in.
France began to play more freely after that, with Antoine Griezmann’s low effort flying just wide and Mbappe skying his attempt over the bar as he rushed to meet Griezmann’s right-wing cross. Australia kept France on their toes, and Jackson Irvine’s header touched Hugo Lloris’ right-hand post following a rebound soon before halftime. Mbappe created more havoc early in the second half but couldn’t get through until he silenced the Australia fans, who had been yelling ‘Who are you?’ at him in the first half, with a glancing header in the 68th minute.