With all eyes falling on the Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday night, France opened the defence of their world crown with a thumping 4-1 victory against Australia.
While the Europan giants might have been left stunned as the Socceroos opened the scoring after just nine minutes thanks to Craig Goodwin’s early strike, Didier Deschamps’ men mounted an eye-catching comeback.
Laying down an early Group D marker, goals from Kylian Mbappe, Adrien Rabiot and an Olivier Giroud brace wrapped up a convincing victory for Les Bleus in Qatar.
Drawing a line under their rather public 2022 struggles, France will be desperate to use Tuesday’s flurry as a platform to build on as they look to defend their World Cup trophy in the Middle East.
In what was a convincing display from Deschamps’ superstars, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
France avoid what could have been a banana skin
Signing off their pre-World Cup preparations with a deserved 2-0 loss against Denmark during September’s international break, France made the trip out to Qatar enduring what has been an extended blip.
While Les Bleus might have stormed their way to a second world title out in Russia four years ago, Deschamps has found a huge amount of scrutiny on his position over recent months.
Although the European giants might have just about clung to their elite Nations League status this year, they could manage just a single win from any of their six League A appearances.
However, while Deschamps might be without the likes of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in Qatar, France would have been relieved to avoid what could have been a banana skin on Tuesday night.
Despite failing to find much stability since opening 2022, the reigning champions couldn’t have wished for a better opening performance at the Al Janoub Stadium.
Tipped as a landslide pick to cruise their way to the knockout stage, France will be next seen on Saturday afternoon when they meet the Danes in Doha.
Giroud writes his name in French folk law
While it might be Giroud’s attacking partner who will undoubtedly steal most of the headlines following Tuesday’s 4-1 win, the AC Milan striker once again proved his worth to France’s squad.
Bagging a record-breaking brace after finding the net on either side of the half-time break, the former Arsenal star also wrote his name into French folk law.
With Deschamps making it clear that the 36-year-old has a crucial role to play in Qatar, Giroud’s brace also means that he is now France’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Surpassing Thierry Henry’s record and receiving a string of plaudits, Giroud is enjoying what has been a stellar Indian summer since arriving in Italy.
Guiding AC Milan to their first Serie A title in a decade last season, France’s new record-breaker appears to be getting better with age.
With France seen to be short of another out-and-out number nine who can lead their charge in Qatar, Giroud’s display on Tuesday night showed that demonstrated why Deschamps has so much faith in him.
All eyes on Mbappe
With it confirmed earlier in the week that Benzema has had to withdraw from Les Blues’ squad due to yet another injury blow, it is no secret that Mbappe has plenty of expectations on his shoulders.
Although it might have been reported over recent weeks that the ex-Monaco superstar is desperate to secure a move away from PSG when the January transfer window opens, the 23-year-old is in the midst of yet another free-scoring run.
Opening his World Cup account on Tuesday night after producing a wonderful glanced header, Mbappe will know that he has a huge role to play if France are to defend their crown in the Middle East.
Forming an eye-catching relationship with Giroud and clearly the man who will spearhead Deschamps’ side over the next month, PSG’s attacking icon certainly made an early statement here.
Only underlining why he has universally regarded to be among world football’s most sort after superstars, Tuesday’s strike means that Mbappe has now notched 20 goals for club and country since opening the 2022/23 campaign.
France: Lloris, Pavard, Konate, Upamecano, L. Hernandez, Tchouameni, Rabiot, Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud
Subs: Coman, T. Hernandez, Fofana, Thurman, Kounde
Australia: Ryan, Atkinson, Souttar, Rowles, Behich, Ooy, Goodwin, McGree, Irvine, Leckie, Duke
Subs: Mabil, Degenek, Cummings, Kuol, Baccus
Goals: France: Rabiot (27′), Giroud (32′, 71′), Mbappe (68′) – Australia: Goodwin (9′)
Yellow Cards: Duke, Irvine, Mooy
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Kyle Atkins
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