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France, the defending champs, comes back from a goal down to thrash Australia 4-1

The Hawk
November23/ 2022

Doha (The Hawk): At Janoub Stadium on Tuesday night, Olivier Giroud scored twice, Adrien Rabiot scored once, and Kylian Mbappe scored once to help the defending champions France defeat Australia 4-1.

The World Cup hosts recovered from an early scare when Craig Goodwin gave the Socceroos a startling lead in the ninth minute, but goals by Rabiot (27th), Giroud (32nd and 74th minutes), and Mbappe (68th minute) made it possible for manager Didier Deschamps' team to earn all three points.

After drawing 0-0 with Tunisia earlier in the day at Education City Stadium, Denmark will play France on November 26 before wrapping out their group matches against Tunisia on November 30.

On the other side, Australia's final group game is against Denmark four days after their play against Tunisia in the next round.

An early goal had given the Australians hope of a victory this time around after France narrowly defeated them 2-1 in the group stage of the last World Cup thanks to an own goal and a penalty.

However, Mbappe and co. rose to the occasion to launch their campaign to defend the title in style, so that was not to be.

Karim Benzema, the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner, had to withdraw from the competition after ripping a muscle in practise, so Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann took over calling the shots on the field.

Given its embarrassing wealth, France did not notice much of a difference when players like Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, who were both a part of the winning 2018 World Cup side but were unable to travel to Qatar, were absent.

Early in the game, the Socceroos silenced the French fans with a spectacular goal as Craig Goodwin slammed the ball into the net from the back post following a sweeping, magnificent attacking move in the ninth minute.

The European juggernauts displayed class by making a strong comeback to rip apart the opposition's defence. They scored twice in the final five minutes of the half to make it 2-1 at the interval.

France's first goal in the tournament was scored by midfielder Rabiot, and Giroud added a second goal five minutes later to put his team ahead.

Three minutes into the second half, France added two more goals to make it 4-1.

In the 71st minute, Giroud scored his second goal of the game; three minutes earlier, Mbappe had made it 3-1.

The Australians had their fair share of opportunities, with Jackson Irvine's shot shortly before halftime hitting the post.

(Inputs from Agencies)