Olivier Giroud scored a brace to help France produce one of the high-scoring football results of the midweek action in the World Cup. On a day that had already seen one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, Didier Deschamps’ team ran the risk of sharing Argentina’s fate against Saudi Arabia when Australia seized the lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, France took the lead before halftime thanks to goals from Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud, and Kylian Mbappe stood out as the game’s best player in the second half. Giroud, 36, and Thierry Henry are now equal for the most goals scored in France’s history with 51 goals combined for the men’s national team. Undoubtedly, the great Mbappe will exceed it someday.
Australia would have known the scope of its task before starting, but it handled it with grace and succeeded in its goal. Matthew Leckie was able to cross thanks to Harry Souttar’s excellent play, finding Goodwin, who deftly scored at the far post. Lucas Hernandez’s injury and other injuries to France’s players before Australia’s goal may have given France the sense that everything was against them. The deft midfielder who was also a provider easily made the switch to the national squad, latching onto Mbappe’s exquisite flick to set up Giroud. The seasoned striker merely needed to put the ball in the net to score his 50th international goal.
Mbappe could have made it three when Antoine Griezmann set him up superbly, but his six-yard volley was inaccurate, and that nearly cost him when Jackson Irvine headed against the post in first-half stoppage time. Australia undoubtedly has its moments. Giroud headed in his cross from the opposing flank shortly after Mbappe turned to become the provider. Much has been said about the players who aren’t playing since current Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema isn’t participating. But even without him, France was still powerful in 2018. They now appear to be strong as well.
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