(well, ex players in this case – Ed)
France 4 – 1 Australia
(Group D, Al Janoub Stadium, 22/11/2022)
France vs Australia was seemingly always going to be a one sided affair and so it proved as the World Cup holders laid down a big marker to the rest of the world by sweeping Australia aside.
Their manager and ex-Chelsea player Deschamps has had to deal with injuries to a whole host of players including Chelsea’s Kante and lead striker and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema who went down with a thigh injury thus allowing 36-year-old former blue Giroud to take centre stage.
The game started brightly with Australia pressing and the French being a bit laid back in their approach, the socceroos briefly threatened another early World cup shock when they took the lead as Goodwin scored after 9 minutes from a cross by Leckie, it got worse as Lucas Hernandez was left in agony and was carried off on a stretcher and was replaced by his namesake Theo Hernandez.
Duke almost made it 2-0 with a shot that went just wide, Australia showing lots of grit and determination.
In the 27th minute Adrien Rabiot made it 1-1 with a great header from a cross by Theo Hernández following a corner.
Then the Mbappe and Giroud show started.
5 minutes later a defensive error in playing the ball out from the back led to a Mbabbe back-heel to Rabiot who crossed for Giroud to score from the centre of the box, he rarely misses from there, 2-1 to Les Bleus.
Mbappe then missed a sitter with the goal gaping, and Giroud fired over.
Australia had a chance to level just before the half time whistle when Jackson Irvine hit the post with a header from the centre of the box.
The half time whistle blows.
France had an early chance, Tchouameni has a shot from outside the box blocked.
The game gets a bit scrappy with several fouls committed before Duke is booked for a bad foul, he is then replaced by Jason Cummings.
Mbabbe then has several chances before he heads in off the post from a cross by Dembele on 68 minutes 3-1.
3 minutes later he turned provider with a pinpoint cross providing Giroud with a close range headed goal 4-1 and Girouds 51st goal for France leveling him as the top scorer for France with Thierry Henry.
Both sides then make several subs, Australia still trying but the world cup holders are a different level.
Irvine is the booked for a nasty tackle and is replaced, then Giroud is subbed and goes off to great applause.
A couple more French chances before Mooy is booked. Thats 3-0 in bookings.
The whistle goes and wraps up an easy win for the reigning champions France who took a bow to rapturous applause in front of their fans.
Posted by the CSG’s World Cup Willie