Home South Africa France beat Australia 4-1 in opener, Giroud equals record – SABC News

France beat Australia 4-1 in opener, Giroud equals record – SABC News

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France began their World Cup title defense in style with a 4-1 win against Australia on Tuesday as Olivier Giroud scored twice to become Les Bleus’ all-time top scorer.

Giroud scored before and after the break to take his tally to 51 goals, matching Thierry Henry’s tally.

He scored either side of Kylian Mbappe’s goal after Adrien Rabiot equalized for France after Craig Goodwin opened the shock scoring.

Les Bleus are the first defending champions to win their opening match since Brazil in 2006, which already puts them in a good position to advance from the group stage, something that Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and Germany in 2018 failed to do.

France, whose defender Lucas Hernandez was ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a serious knee injury in the first half, has three points and leads Tunisia and Denmark by two after they drew 0-0 on Tuesday.

Didier Deschamps’ side, who began the tournament with the disappointment of missing striker Karim Benzema last Saturday, face Denmark on Saturday.

“We were scared, but we reacted quickly. Even if we could have scored more goals, we found each other, we were effective,” said the 36-year-old Giroud, who is now France’s oldest scorer at the World Cup.

“It’s really good for our confidence that we turned things around. However, we will have to learn from these small mistakes.”

Australia coach Graham Arnold said his side ran out of gas against the top team.

“Look, at the end of the day, they are a quality side. They are world champions for a reason,” he added.

“I thought the first half, we were good. In the second half, we ran out of legs a little, but this is the level these players play.”

SECOND START

It wasn’t exactly the start France expected at the Al Janub Stadium.

Australia’s Goodwin headed the ball into the back of the net following Matthew Leckie’s cross from the right, which left Lucas Hernandez clutch on the right knee after a 9-minute tackle.

Hernandez’s brother Theo came on as a substitute and France continued to struggle to create space with only Mbappe threatening down the left flank.

Australia were much more direct, making the most of Les Bleus’ non-existent midfield.

It was Rabiot who equalized in the 27th, however, leaving his marker behind to head home from Hernandez’s cross.

With Mbappe moving more centrally, Australia’s defense had another problem, and it was evident when the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s shot in the area was intercepted by Rabiot, who slotted the ball in for Giroud to score.

From that point on, France played more freely as Antoine Griezmann struck low and Mbappe crossed the post to race onto Griezmann’s cross from the right.

Australia kept France on edge and went close just before half-time when Jackson Irvine’s header hit Hugo Lloris’ right-hand post after the rebound.

Mbappe caused further havoc early in the second half, but failed to make the breakthrough until he silenced the Australian fans who chanted “Who are you?” in the first half. on him, with a sharp header in the 68th minute.

Giroud headed home from Mbappe’s cross three minutes later, before falling on his back in apparent disbelief and being surrounded by team-mates in a goal celebration that lasted longer than usual, giving France a rousing sense of victory.

To score 51 goals, Giroud, who earned a place in the starting line-up thanks to Benzema’s absence, made 115 international appearances, while Henry needed 123 between 1997 and 2010.

France had more chances through Theo Hernández and Ibrahim Konate, but the result was already satisfactory enough considering their title defense in 2002 began with a 1-0 defeat to Senegal before being knocked out in the first round.

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