GOALS from Olivier Giroud – who got two and equalled Thierry Henry’s French scoring record – Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe brought the holders from behind to beat Australia in another extremely enjoyable match.
They take control of Group C following Denmark’s draw with Tunisia earlier in the day, and will not surrender their title easily.
Australia took a shock lead on nine minutes, Craig Goodwin finishing well after great work by Harry Souttar and Matt Leckie. But inspired by the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe, France came back hard, and two goals in five minutes, from Rabiot and Giroud, gave them a half-time lead.
Things were slow after the break, France conserving energy and protecting the lead while Australia looked to hang on in the game.
But just after the hour, France exploded again to finish the contest, fine goals by Mbappe and Giroud underlining the extent of their superiority and reminding the world that, for all their faults, their title won’t be relinquished without a fight.
France won the 2018 World cup in spite of, not because of Dider Deschamps, whose influence made a phenomenal collection of attackers part of a team far more negative than it needed to be.
For that reason, France haven’t improved in the intervening four years, and though they’ve the players to beat any team on any day, it’d be surprising were they to retain their title because they don’t look like a cohesive unit.
Of course, they are missing important players – Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema – but they didn’t look great with them, because their style seems to be to get the ball to Kylian Mbappe and hope he does something. It can work because Mbappe is fantastic, but it is not likely to work because – as PSG can testify – high-end football competitions are usually decided by teams, not individuals.
Man of the match
Kylian Mbappe (France) A constant menace, his all-round game devastated Australia, and in this mood and form, he’ll be too good for better teams than Australia.
France: Lloris 6, Pavard 6, Konate 6, Upamecano 6, Hernandez 6, Tchouameni 7, Rabiot 7, Griezmann 6, Dembele 7, Giroud 7, Mbappe 8. Subs: Hernandez 7, Fofana 6, Coman 6, Thuram 6.
Australia: Ryan 6, Atkinson 5, Rowles 5, Soutter 7, Behich 6, Mooy 5, Irvine 6, McGree 5, Leckie 6, Duke 5, Goodwin 6. Subs: Cummings 6, Mabil 6, Kuol 6, Baccus 6, Degenek 6.
Olivier Giroud now has 51 goals for France, so becomes his country’s joint-top goalscorer, with Thierry Henry.
Top: France’s Olivier Giroud scores his side’s fourth goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena and published by Yahoo!News
Insert: Australia’s Craig Goodwin, left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin and published by Yahoo!News
Front Page: France’s Olivier Giroud celebrate after he scored during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Frank Augstein and published by Yahoo!News
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