The late-night Group D clash between the defending champions France and Australia ended up with a five-goal game in Al-Janoub Stadium, in which the french side roared back with four goals after being caught in the open in a 9th-minute screamer from Australia, the fastest of this World Cup.
Leveling Karim Benzema’s absence, Oliver Giroud scored a brace and also tier to Thierry Henry’s goal record for France of 51 from 123 appearances while Giroud made it in 115. With the victory in the opener, France succeeded in
securing 3 points as defending champions in the World Cups since Brazil in 2006, which gave them much optimistic stand in countering the ‘champion’s fate in the group stage as Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018 suffered.
The night’s star Oliver Giroud stated; “It’s very good for our self-confidence to have turned things around. We’ll have to learn from these little mistakes, however.” – which swells up their disappointment in the scoreline.
France was not expecting such an early response from Australia as Craig Goodwin whacked the ball into the roof leaving no choice for Hugo Lloris.
Following the goal, Lucas Hernandez was sent with an injury to his right knee and was replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez. France was struggling to create space after one goal deficit despite Mbappe shivering on the flank until the header from Rabiot came to the rescue in the 27th minute. The tie gave France extra energy for the rest of the game as Kylian Mbappe frequently knocked the Australian defensive line as well as their goalkeeper.
The Juventus midfielder Adrian Rabiot was also in great form as he supplied the tiebreaker for Oliver Giroud’s tap-in goal. The lead turned the game in French favor with Antoine Griezmann and Mbappe creating distress among the Socceroos.
The second half witnessed an upgraded version of Kylian Mbappe as the Australian fans screamed against him. He replied with a sensational header in the 68th minute followed by a distinct celebration of his iconic style.
Giroud scored his second and the team’s fourth from Mbappe’s cross as he sliced the ball into the back of the net.
Chances flooded in for both sides until the final whistle and the scoreboard rested 4-1 at Al- Janoub Stadium.
Later, Australian coach Graham Arnold acceded to the defeat of an experienced and superior side like France.