France vs Australia 4-1: Rabiot and Giroud Power Les Bleus

The World Champions made a statement, and a strong one they made. France cruised to a comfortable 4-1 win over Australia in their first test at the 2022 World Cup. Serie A players Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud powered Les Bleus‘ comeback after the Socceroos had surprisingly drawn first blood.

But it was the whole lineup deployed by Didier Deschamps to shine at the Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday night. Despite missing no less than five regular starters, including Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, France enjoyed the fruits of the spectacular entente  between Giroud, Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé upfront, well serviced by Antoine Griezmann and Juventus’ Rabiot from the midfield.

Australia did manage to give the incumbent champions an early scare and, overall, left the pitch with their heads held high but the difference between the two lineups was too big and became evident as soon as Les Bleus started to hit the gas in the middle of the first half.

France had a slow approach to the game and left the initiative to Graham Arnold’s side, refraining from pressing them high up the pitch. They perhaps sinned a bit of overconfidence and soon regretted it as a long ball from behind the midfield line prompted Matthew Leckie’s penetration from the right flank.

His diagonal pass for Craig Goodwin was clinical, and the Australia number 23 was quick to fire the ball into Hugo Lloris’ net, putting the Oceanians ahead. It was a double disaster for France, who also lost Lucas Hernandez in the process. The Bayern Munich man suffered a knee injury and had to give way to his brother, Milan’s left back Theo.

The Rossoneri star took some time to get into match as a mistake in his defensive third triggered a Mitchell Duke shot from sidereal distance that sailed off target, but not by many inches.

The French appeared surprised by the Socceroos’ initiative. Soon enough though, they managed to organize themselves and retook control of the situation. The Juventus man Rabiot confirmed his good run of form as he equalized with a header from a Theo Hernandez service. It came 18 minutes after Goodwin’s opener and Didier Deschamps surely did not have fun in the meantime.

France’s equalizer reversed the trend as Australia started to make mistakes. One of those costed them much as they lost the ball while building up the play from their defensive third and offered Rabiot the chance to serve Olivier Giroud a mouthwatering assist.

All the Milan player had to do was slot the ball home from close range to wrap his 50th goal with Les Bleus. Oddly enough, Giroud had not recorded a single shot on target during the previous World Cup. And, his night was not over yet.

France were now totally in control and there were at least four fast breaks that could have resulted in Les Bleus making it three before half time. Mbappé’s mistake on 45 minutes, with the goal right in front of him and no opposition from a Griezmann pass, was unworthy of his fame as a goalscorer. However, he would make up for it in the second half. 

Australia showed that they were still alive as Jackson Irvine hit the post with a header just before the break. At half time, the feeling was that they still had something to say.

But, there can be only one Saudi Arabia per day and Australia’s dreams to put up a fight were a short illusion. France came back to the pitch determined to get the job done fast. That was when the gap in skills between the two sides became appalling. 

Giroud tried an acrobatic conversion, firing an overhead shot from a Hernandez cross that sailed off target. Australia defender Aziz Behich saved a shot right on the goal line but he could only delay the inevitable.

The Australian wall held until the 68th minute, when Dembélé picked Mbappé in the middle of the box and the last World Cup’s MVP headed the ball home, sneaking between the two Australian center backs. Game over.

Three minutes later, Giroud netted his second of the night, becoming France’s all-time top-scorer at 51 alongside a certain Thierry Henry, with Mbappé turning provider in the occasion. 

The Socceroos goalkeeper Matthew Ryan had some work to do to prevent the score from getting humiliating proportions and, at full time, coach Arnold’s side could just be happy that they didn’t concede more against such a scintillating French side. 

Gentlemen, we officially have a tournament favorite.  



November 22, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group D

SCORERS: 9′ Goodwin (A), 27′ Rabiot (F), 32′ Giroud (F), 68′ Mbappé (F), 71′ Giroud (F)

FRANCE (4-2-3-1): Lloris 6; Pavard 6 (89′ Kounde), Konaté, Upamecano, L. Hernandez (13′ T. Hernandez); Tchouameni (77′ Fofana), Rabiot; Dembélé (77′ Coman), Griezmann, Mbappé (89′ Thuram); Giroud (Mandanda, Areola, Disasi, Varane, Guendouzi, Muani, Veretout, Saliba, Camavinga) Coach: Deschamps
AUSTRALIA (4-2-3-1): Ryan; Atkinson (85′ Degenek), Rowles, Souttar, Behich; Irvine (85′ Baccus), Mooy; Leckie, McGree (73′ Mabil), Goodwin (73′ Kuol); Duke (56′ Cummings) (Redmayne, Vukovic, Karacic, Tilio, Wright, Maclaren, Hrustic, Devlin, Deng, King) Coach: Arnold
REFEREE: Mr. Gomes (South Africa)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Duke, Irvine, Mooy (A); Added Time: 1st Half 6′, 2nd Half 7′
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