Olivier Giroud’s brace and one goal each from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe saw France get off to a winning start to their World Cup title defense on Tuesday. The side smashed Australia 4-1 in a Group D match at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.
The French had some good runs going forward. Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele threatened to take the lead early in the match, but Didier Deschamps’ side was shocked as Craig Goodwin turned up with the first goal of the match, which was for Australia.
For France, it almost went bad to worse in rapid order after startling left-back Lucas Hernández had to be removed after picking up an apparent knee injury in the run-up to Australia’s goal, stripping France of their sixth key asset with barely a ball kicked in anger this winter.
But they soon found a lease of life through Adrien Rabiot’s goal. Theo Hernandez swung in a beautiful cross from the flank and Rabiot was in the right place at the right time to head it home. A few minutes later, Olivier Giroud saw off his defender with some intelligent movement inside the box and fired Rabiot’s cut-back into an empty net.
France, who were being threatened by injuries and recent form, had nearly lost a lot of confidence but they headed into the break with a 2-1 lead. On the other side of that break, they showed the world why they are the defending champions with a stellar performance moving forward.
Ousmane Dembele floated in a beautiful delivery from just outside the box to Kylian Mbappe, who made no mistake to score his fifth goal FIFA World Cup. Three minutes later, Giroud scored again to give France a three-goal cushion in the game, heading home a terrific ball played into his path by Kylian Mbappe.
Deschamps had a stunning result on his opening day in Qatar, with the side registering four goals and three of their players returning with two goal contributions each (Ground with two goals, Mbappe and Rabiot with a goal and an assist each). Giroud also leveled Thierry Henry as the leading goal-scorer in French football history with his second goal, sealing three big points for the defending champions.