Giroud equals goal record as France waltz past Australia in World Cup opener

REUTERS - PAUL CHILDS

Olivier Giroud bagged a brace on Tuesday night to draw level with Thierry Henry's record of 51 goals as France came from behind to beat Australia 4-1 and take early control of Group D at the World Cup in Qatar.

Seeking to become only the third nation to win successive titles in the 92-year history of the competition, France began the defence of their 2018 crown with a wobble.

But it ultimately turned into a dazzle after the underdogs took a shock lead in the ninth minute with old-school simplicity.

Harry Souttar raked a long cross-field pass to Mathew Leckie on the right wing who collected, rounded Lucas Hernandez and fizzed over a cross that took out two French defenders. Craig Goodwin swept the ball high into the net past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Piqued, France stepped up the intensity. Adrien Rabiot nodded in the equaliser after 27 minutes from Theo Hernandez's cross and three minutes later, France were ahead.

Rabiot, after dispossessing Australia defender Nathaniel Atkinson, exchanged passes with Kylian Mbappé, surged into the penalty area and squared for Giroud to prod home.

Chances came for the French to extend their lead but poor marksmanship allowed the Australians to nurture hope.

But that was incinerated mid way through the second-half.

Romp

"To be honest, we had a terrible start and next time we've got to be much sharper from the beginning," said Giroud who has emulated Henry after 115 games.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Bale salvages a point for Wales as England and Netherlands lay down markers
France boss Deschamps omits Giroud for Nations League finale
French World Cup captain Hugo Lloris charged with drink-driving