France started their World Cup defense campaign with a 4-1 win over Australia

France are set to start the 2022 World Cup after a dominant 4-1 win over Australia on Tuesday.

After Denmark and Tunisia held a goalless draw in Group D’s opening game, the top spot was up for grabs.

France’s replay after winning the 2018 World Cup did not get off to a promising start as Craig Goodwin’s ninth-minute goal opened the account for the Socceroos.

Goodwin came into the box from behind France right-back Benjamin Pavard, who was unaware he was being beaten when Mathew Leckie sent a low cross that leapt past the two France centre-backs. Goodwin finished calmly with his left past Hugo Lloris who was in no man’s land.

As expected, France increased the pace of the game by pressing hard, while Australia tried to gain and maintain possession. The chances came gradually as Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring for France in the 27th minute with a header from a saved corner.

Then five minutes later, Rabiot’s high pressing forced Australia to lose possession down the left flank and Rabiot got the ball free first as he set up Olivier Giroud for an easy tap to make it 2:32 in the 32nd minute. 1 to score stopped at half.

France dominated possession for the first 15 minutes of the second half, controlling the ball 70% of the time. Australia seemed content to sit back in a 4-5-1 low block to break in numbers on a counterattack, with a Giroud scissor kick attempt being Les Bleus’ big chance.

But Australia’s passivity eventually became her kryptonite. France’s constant pressure paved the way for more goals when Kylian Mbappé came on the board in the 68th minute from a header from Ousmane Dembélé’s cross.

Just three minutes later, Mbappe set up Giroud with a cross from the left wing and the 36-year-old forward headed in as he had done throughout his long career. The goal also marked Giroud’s 51st and propelled Thierry Henry to become France’s all-time goalscorer.

Australia failed to score a single shot on target in the second half, while France had seven shots from a total of 23.

At the end of France 4.20 expected goals to Australia’s .59 on the final score, but all eyes will be on Les Bleus’ next game.

Although Denmark’s first game ended in a goalless draw, Danish Dynamite will be France’s toughest opponents in the group. A win for France would put them in pole position to take first place ahead of the group final against Tunisia.

France-Denmark kick-off time is Saturday, November 26 at 11:00am ET, 8:00am PT.


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