World Cup: France come from goal down to defeat Australia 4-1

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Reigning champions France recovered from an early Australia goal to win 4-1 as they began their World Cup defence in style in Qatar.

On a day that began with one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, Didier Deschamps’ side risked going the same way that Argentina had against Saudi Arabia when Craig Goodwin put Australia ahead inside the first 10 minutes of the match.

But goals from Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud put France ahead before half-time and the quality told in the second half with Kylian Mbappe emerging as the star of the show. He scored the third and then set up Giroud for the fourth with a magnificent cross.

That goal moved the 36-year-old Giroud level with Thierry Henry as France’s all-time record scorer with 51 goals for the men’s national team. It is a record the magnificent Mbappe will surely break one day.

Australia would have known the size of their task going in but started with real composure and their goal was wonderfully worked. A brilliant switch of play by Harry Souttar set up Matthew Leckie and his cross found Goodwin who finished neatly at the far post.

Lucas Hernandez was injured in the build-up to that Australia goal, adding to the list of France casualties that might have created a sense of events conspiring against them. But his replacement, brother Theo, assisted Rabiot’s equaliser and they did not look back.

Within minutes of heading his country level, the elegant midfielder turned provider, latching onto a delightful flick from Mbappe to set up Giroud. The veteran striker had the simplest of tasks to turn the ball into the net for his 50th international goal.

Mbappe might have made it three when set up well by Antoine Griezmann but his volley was wild when six yards out and that almost proved costly when Jackson Irvine headed against the post in first-half stoppage time. Australia certainly had their moments.

But the second half saw Mbappe take over, tormenting the defence as France pushed to extend their lead. Griezmann had a shot cleared off the line but Mbappe was not to be denied – heading in off the post from Ousmane Dembele’s right-wing cross.

Mbappe turned provider soon after, his cross from the other flank being headed in by Giroud. Much has been made of the players missing with current Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema out. But France were potent without him in 2018. They look potent now too.

Source: Sky Sports

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