DOHA, Qatar — After happening early, reigning World Cup champions France got here roaring again at Al-Janoub Stadium on Tuesday to beat Australia 4-1 in Group D.
Australia‘s Craig Goodwin scored in simply the ninth minute as French defender Lucas Hernández went down on the play. However France responded with 4 unanswered objectives from Adrien Rabiot, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé to win.
Right here is ESPN’s Julien Laurens with response and evaluation from Qatar.
1. France stumble at first however get their profitable begin
It was not straightforward for Les Bleus — it by no means is towards Australia (bear in mind 2018 in Russia), and it’s by no means straightforward of their World Cup openers (bear in mind 2002, 2006, 2010). However a win is a win, and France will take that for now.
Contemplating the latest drama — the accidents, together with the final one ruling out Karim Benzema from the match three days in the past, the tensions, the uncertainties — plus the nerves of this primary recreation, Tuesday’s win is a begin that may very well be extra precious than simply three factors for supervisor Didier Deschamps and his gamers. Les Bleus confirmed character and willpower and turned issues round, which is able to convey them a variety of momentum.
There are issues to enhance and to right, in fact — particularly defensively — however as soon as the items of this new-look crew fell into the best place, with Antoine Griezmann taking some time to regulate to his new function of a hybrid No. 8/No. 10, it was significantly better. The ball motion turned extra fluid; the form of the crew was extra balanced; and France took management.
To win the World Cup again to again, a feat achieved solely by Italy in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962, France will want extra management and extra solidity. They misplaced one other starter by means of harm, Hernández, and it’ll proceed to check their depth.
However for now, the French facet might be glad. Just one reigning champion had gained their opening recreation previously 5 World Cups: Brazil in 2006. France in 2002, Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and Germany in 2018 all failed to take action. For this, France cannot be too upset concerning the purpose they conceded.
2. Giroud equals Henry’s file
Olivier Giroud likes to say that his soccer profession is an infinite new starting. It sums up his profession and the way he retains rising, even when he’s anticipated to fall.
Giroud scored his fiftieth and 51st worldwide objectives for France towards Australia in his one hundred and fifteenth cap, equaling Thierry Henry’s file for the French males’s crew, however in eight fewer video games. It’s an unbelievable achievement for an unbelievable future.
The AC Milan striker was unsure to be a part of this journey. Deschamps had his doubts about Giroud and was hesitant to call him within the squad. Then, he was alleged to be Benzema’s backup, however as soon as once more destiny performed within the 36-year-old’s favour.
His first purpose was a tap-in, like lots of Giroud has scored by means of his life — however it’s in all probability an important tap-in of his life. His second was a header like lots of he has scored in his life, however once more, it’s in all probability an important header of all.
In 2018, France gained the World Cup with out Giroud scoring a single purpose. He has two already on this version, and the strain is off his again.
Earlier than the sport, he had a sense that he would discover the online. He was additionally one of many first to congratulate Mbappé when the PSG striker, who’s 13 years his junior and assisted him on his second, additionally scored within the second half.
At 36, Giroud turned the oldest purpose scorer for France in males’s World Cup historical past, overtaking Zinedine Zidane. Beating Zidane and equalling Henry? What an unbelievable night time for Giroud.
3. Debutants who debut nicely
France’s two centre-backs and two central midfielders made their World Cup debut towards Australia on the coronary heart of the France crew, they usually got here in with a variety of query marks surrounding them. The nerves clearly kicked in, they usually all had a horrible first quarter-hour, conceding a purpose, shedding duels, not profitable second balls and struggling to seek out their place on the pitch.
Then Rabiot scored to make it 1-1 and all of it clicked. All of a sudden, they had been dominant and environment friendly. They are going to face harder checks, in fact, beginning with the subsequent recreation towards Denmark on Saturday, however for a debut, they went from power to power.
It isn’t straightforward to observe within the steps of Raphael Varane, who must be again towards the Danes), Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, and that is very a lot a quartet for the long run. However the World Cup might be an incredible studying curve.
These 4 gamers are respectively 23, 24, 22 and 27 years previous. They’ve a mixed complete of 56 caps and till Tuesday had by no means all performed collectively for France, not to mention beginning collectively and not to mention in a World Cup recreation. For them, as for Giroud, it is going to be an unforgettable night time.
France: Lloris 5, Pavard 5, Konaté 6, Upamecano 6, Theo 6, Rabiot 7, Tchouaméni 6, Dembele 4, Griezmann 6, Mbappé 8, Giroud 7.
Australia: Ryan 4, Atkinson 2, Souttar 4, Rowles 3, Behich 4, Irvine 5, Mooy 4, McGree 4, Leckie 5, Duke 4, Goodwin 5.
Finest and worst performers
BEST: Kylian Mbappé, France
Generally he tried to do an excessive amount of, however he was wonderful alongside the left wing along with his tempo and his dribbling. His purpose, a uncommon header, rewarded all his wizardry with the ball, and he additionally crossed the ball for Giroud’s second purpose whereas he might have scored extra. Excellent as soon as once more.
WORST: Nathaniel Atkinson, Australia
The Hearts’ right-back struggled all night time towards Mbappé. It was an ordeal for him, overwhelmed by tempo and by abilities, and it acquired even worse when Theo Hernández got here on for his brother and introduced his attacking facet to the sport.
Highlights and notable moments
Tuesday’s Group D opener began in stunning trend as Australia struck first.
In a double whammy, French defender Lucas Hernández went down injured as Australia’s Mathew Leckie blew previous him, and delivered a ball for Goodwin to run onto and shoot.
One other take a look at Craig Goodwin’s purpose that provides Australia an early lead!! pic.twitter.com/w7cplxbXyX
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 22, 2022
Lucas Hernández was pressured to return out, changed by brother Theo Hernández, nevertheless it did not take too lengthy for the reigning World Cup champions to degree the rating.
Rabiot discovered the equaliser with an help from the Hernández who had come on for the harm substitution.
¡FRANCIA NO SE ESTÁ DEJANDO!
— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) November 22, 2022
From there, France took maintain of the bench and did not let go. There have been some nervy moments, together with a shot for Australia off the submit in first-half stoppage time, however the ones scoring had been the French crew.
The eventual recreation winner got here from Giroud within the thirty second minute.
He scores his fiftieth purpose for France and places Les Bleus out in entrance! pic.twitter.com/MDzBWoDJOI
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 22, 2022
After the match: What the gamers and managers mentioned
French supervisor Didier Deschamps on Lucas Hernández: “He needs to do some tests, but it seems pretty serious. That’s the big black spot tonight.”
Socceroos supervisor Graham Arnold advised SBS: “Look, at the end of the day, they’re a quality side. They’re world champions for a reason. I was happy with the first half. Second half we ran out of legs a bit, but that’s the type of level these [French] players play at. We’ll pick the boys up, for sure. They should be proud of their effort, the commitment they gave. But again, they are the world champions for a reason.”
Goodwin on his purpose: “It’s almost an indescribable feeling. To score at a World Cup against the champions is something I’ll remember forever.”
Giroud on the comeback: “We got a scare but reacted quickly afterwards. Even if we could have scored more goals, we found each other, we were efficient. It’s very good for our self-confidence to have turned things around. We’ll have to learn from these little mistakes however.”
Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info)
Getting into Tuesday’s recreation, reigning males’s World Cup champions had been 9-4-4 (W-L-D) of their opening World Cup matches. The final reigning champions to win their first match had been Brazil in 2006.
That is the second-fastest purpose France have ever conceded of their opening recreation at a males’s World Cup, and the quickest since 1982, when England’s Bryan Robson scored within the first minute.
Along with his purpose, Giroud turned France’s oldest purpose scorer in males’s World Cup historical past, a distinction beforehand held by Zinedine Zidane.
France: Les Bleus proceed their run by means of Group D and face Denmark on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET. Then, they end the group stage towards Tunisia on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m. ET.
Australia: The Socceroos proceed their run by means of Group D and face Tunisia on Saturday at 5 a.m. ET. Then, they end the group stage towards Denmark on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m. ET.