France launched their World Cup defense with a 4-1 Group D triumph over Australia, with French striker Olivier Giroud scoring twice to become his country’s joint-record goalscorer. Australia’s Socceroos stunned the world champions with a ninth-minute goal from Craig Goodwin, who side-footed the ball into the top corner. The underdogs would have been inspired by Saudi Arabia’s shocking upset with Argentina this morning.
France could not have had a worse start, with French fullback Lucas Hernandez walking off after getting hurt while attempting to stop the cross that led to the first goal. However, Hernandez’s brother, Theo, took his position in France’s defensive line and was important in setting up Adrien Rabiot’s first goal for Les Blues less than 20 minutes later, snuffing out Australia’s early confidence, which saw Mitch Duke fire a shot just wide of the uprights.
Five minutes later, with just over 30 minutes remaining, Giroud, who at 36 became France’s oldest player in World Cup history, found himself with an almost empty goal thanks to some good French press. An opportunity for Australia’s Jackson Irvine in the waning stages of the first half bounced off the post, sending a warning through a French squad on the verge of complacency.
France took the lead and never looked back
France maintained their lead in the second half. Despite posing a danger in the counterattack, Australia welcomed pressure by sitting deep. The Socceroos’ spectacular defending saw an Antoine Griezmann shot blocked off the goal line, but it was not enough to prevent Kylian Mbappe from scoring with his head in the 67th minute. Five minutes later, Mbappe broke down the left and sent a cross that Giroud headed in for France’s fourth goal.
We were startled, but we reacted swiftly. “Even if we might have scored more goals, we found each other and were efficient,” Giroud added. It’s quite beneficial for our self-esteem that we’ve turned things around. We will, however, have to learn from our mistakes.” Giroud, who now has 51 goals for France, was named to the starting lineup owing to the injury of Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who will miss the whole World Cup.
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France was hit hard by injuries ahead of the opening encounter, with midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, as well as striker Christopher Nkunku, all ruled out, while French coach Didier Deschamps bemoaned Lucas Hernandez’s injury. He has to have some tests done, but it appears to be a severe situation.” “That’s the main problem tonight,” Deschamps stated.