French striker Olivier Giroud scored twice to become his country’s joint record goal scorer, as France opened their World Cup defence with a 4-1 Group D win over Australia.
Australia’s Socceroos had shocked the world champions by scoring a ninth-minute goal, with Craig Goodwin side-footing the ball into the top corner.
The underdogs would no doubt have drawn inspiration from this morning’s shock defeat of Argentina by Saudi Arabia.
With French full back Lucas Hernandez limping off after being injured while attempting to block the cross that led to the first goal, France could not have asked for a worse start.
But Hernandez’s brother Theo took his place in France’s defensive line, and less than twenty minutes later was instrumental in setting up Adrien Rabiot’s first goal for Les Blues – snuffing out Australia’s early confidence.
Five minutes later, with a little more than half an hour on the clock, Giroud, who at 36 became France’s oldest player in World Cup history, found himself with a near-empty goal as a result of an excellent French press.
France took the lead and never looked back.
A chance for Australia in the dying moments of the first half, coming against the run of play, rattled off the post.
France continued to dominate in the second half, and Kylian Mbappe finally found his goal in the 67th minute – before, five minutes later, breaking down the left and putting in a cross headed home by Giroud for France’s fourth. Giroud is now tied with Thierry Henry on 51 goals for France.
Australia will have more chances to make their mark on this tournament. France already have.