Olivier Giroud’s brace against Australia tied him with Thierry Henry as France’s all-time leading male scorer. On Tuesday at Qatar’s Al-Janoub Stadium, the 36-year-old striker led the defending champions to a 4-1 victory over Australia.
Craig Goodwin gave the Socceroos an unexpected lead in the ninth minute when he smashed a goal inside the far post. However, after a slow start, France came to life and took the lead at halftime thanks to goals from Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud.
In the middle of the second half, they scored twice in quick succession. Kylian Mbappe made his tournament debut with a goal in Qatar before assisting Olivier Giroud with his 51st goal for France three minutes later.
Giroud Ties Thierry Henry’s French Record With His 51st Goal for France
The French striker has scored 50 goals, bringing him within one of Henry’s records for France. He has defied all attempts to replace or deem him surplus to requirements. While no one would dare compare Giroud to the great French striker he has displaced, the figures are hard to argue with. Giroud never stops, spanning every era of modern France. He is not one to give up without a fight; that determination has benefited him and his country.
Didier Deschamps has lost several World Cup champions to injury, including N’Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba, and Karim Benzema. However, they always gave off the impression of being extremely dangerous. Mbappé on the left flank was a formidable opponent for Australia, who attempted to outnumber the fullback, Nathaniel Atkinson, whenever possible. Theo Hernández crossed the ball to Adrien Rabiot, who scored the equalizer after 27 minutes. Immediately after Australia’s left flank was overrun, Rabiot returned the ball for Olivier Giroud to score.
Mbappé Crafts a Masterpiece for France
It was Giroud’s night in some respects. However, in other respects, it was not in a typical Giroud manner. It was Mbappé’s night, and hopefully the first of many over the next three weeks on the Gulf peninsula. He couldn’t be stopped.
Maybe one of the other 30 teams in Qatar has an excellent defense to stop Kylian Mbappé. However, judging by the look of the great teenage 2018 World Cup winner, it would have to be among the best in tournament history.
Mbappé, now 23 years old, won a World Cup as a teenager and based on his demeanor in this opening match, he would very much like to win another. But you think this will be his masterpiece, right? He was the silent wonder in 2018, ready to join the other great talents under Didier Deschamps’ management.
Mbappé, four years later, is still France’s key to success in this World Cup. If not for injuries that sidelined a Ballon d’Or winner and two outstanding generals in the middle of the field, he may have been the best player on the squad.
Mbappé set up Olivier Giroud’s second-half goal that tied Thierry Henry’s French record of 51 goals. The 23-year-old will likely be on the field again when Giroud breaks that record. The only sense is that Mbappé will be the one to accomplish this feat; this is one of the great certainties. He now has 29 goals overall for France after his first goal in Doha. Already, he ranks 10th on his country’s all-time list.
Mbappé scored in the 68th minute with a header off a cross from the right by Ousmane Dembélé into the corner. He had previously failed to catch a few, and at that point, he felt that his task was halfway done. Giroud was able to provide another assist for France’s fourth goal. Garang Kuol, an 18-year-old Australian newly signed by Newcastle United, debuted in the World Cup with his second cap for Australia.
Craig Goodwin Shocks the French
Craig Goodwin, a 30-year-old, 10-time-capped striker for Adelaide United, was unprepared for the occasion. However, he handled it exceptionally well, even though it was unexpected. His run to the back post following nine hectic minutes for Australia gave him room and time to gauge a deflected cross from the right.
Hugo Lloris could not reach the ball because it was too powerful and too high. Considering that the team’s defense included two players from Heart of Midlothian and others from Dundee United and Stoke City, this is surprising. The Australia squad included more players from the Japanese second division than the Japan squad. Mitchell Duke was among those who had begun in the attack position.